Spell Conversion: Bigby’s Battering Gauntlet in 5e

In our Spell Conversion Series we will look at spells from 2nd edition that didn’t make it into the 5th edition of D&D. For a full list of all named spells, go here.

Method

In order to convert a spell we need to look at the guidelines of the Dungeon Master’s Guide, at the original spell in 2nd edition and at the existing spells in 5e. The new spell shouldn’t overshadow an existing spell nor be too complicated.

5th edition’s biggest advantage over older editions is that spells are extremely streamlined and bookkeeping on the Dungeon Master’s side is kept to a minimum.

Also, some spells might be used for a specific situation. This showcases how some mages in Greyhawk invented magic for their own needs. Consider players to get in touch with those unique spells by meeting disciples of these famous mages (or even the mage himself) rather than handing them out freely.

The spell

Today we look at Bigby’s Battering Gauntlet. The spell has a really specific mechanic but is at the same time inccurate in its effect. It is understandable that WotC disregarded this spell, especially with the streamlining of structure damage.

But the spell is still unique and can be converted. Let’s look at the important mechanics we want to convert:

  • 4th Level, targeting a door
  • Destroys a door in a number of times depending on the door’s material
  • Spawn a new entity (big ram)
  • Can only be magically dispelled or destroyed

You can compare this spell with Knock in its function to get past a door and gameplaywise with a structure damaging spell. The specific design to only work against doors (no damage against creatures or walls) needs to be the spell’s strength and weakness.

Ultimately, a 4th level spell should be more powerful than a 2nd level Knock and at the same time not fail in its only purpose. Destroying a door. So I decided to enhance the spell to always break metal doors and its effect against magical doors.

Considering all of this, this is my conversion of Bigby’s Battering Gauntlet in 5e:


Bigby’s Battering Gauntlet

4th-level evocation
Casting time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S, M (metal rod with metal gauntlet)
Duration: 1 minute

You create a metal ram that modifies its size by fitting the door it is caat on.It immediately starts attacking the door, destroying any wooden door with its first attack, stone doors with the second and metal doors with its fourth.
Arcane locks are dispeĺled on the first attack (wooden door with an Arcane Lock therefore destroyed in two turns. Every other magical lock of higher quality has a 50% chance to withstand an attack.
The ram is an object, has AC 15 and hit points equal to half of your hit point maximum. If it drops to 0 hit points or the door is destroyed, the spell ends.


Conclusion

As you might have realised, converting spells is never easy and highly subjective. There are many ways to the same goal. Our goal is to make our World of Greyhawk experience unique, different from a homebrew of Forgotten Realms campaign. And with every new spell that used to be a Greyhawk exclusive, we are getting closer to our goal.

Next time we are going to convert Bigby’s Besieging Bolt.

See you in the Green Dragon Inn,

Frogsama

Spell Conversion: Bigby’s Crushing Hand in 5e

In our Spell Conversion Series we will look at spells from 2nd edition that didn’t make it into the 5th edition of D&D. For a full list of all named spells, go here.

Method

In order to convert a spell we need to look at the guidelines of the Dungeon Master’s Guide, at the original spell in 2nd edition and at the existing spells in 5e. The new spell shouldn’t overshadow an existing spell nor be too complicated.

5th edition’s biggest advantage over older editions is that spells are extremely streamlined and bookkeeping on the Dungeon Master’s side is kept to a minimum.

Also, some spells might be used for a specific situation. This showcases how some mages in Greyhawk invented magic for their own needs. Consider players to get in touch with those unique spells by meeting disciples of these famous mages (or even the mage himself) rather than handing them out freely.

The spell

Today we look at Bigby’s Crushing Hand. The spell has a lot of weird and special mechanics. It is understandable that WotC disregarded this spell, especially with the new mechanic of using a spell on a higher spell level.

But the spell is still unique and can be converted. Let’s look at the important mechanics we want to convert:

  • 9th Level, one target, concentration spell
  • Increasing damage over time
  • Spawn a new entity (big hand)
  • Never misses
  • Auto-grapple

The best spell to compare it to is a Bigby’s Hand cast on 9th level in 5th edition. If you cast it and use the Clenched Fist you make a melee spell attack doing 12d8 damage. Because the Crushing Hand never misses, auto-grapples the damage should be a little lower. On the other hand, Bigby’s Hand is more versatile.

Ultimately, a 9th level spell should be more powerful than a 5th level spell cast on a higher level.

Also the 5th edition Dungeon Master’s Guide states a 9th level spell with half damage save should do 15d10 damage. A never miss spell should do approximately 2/3 of that.

Considering all of this, this is my conversion of Bigby’s Crushing Hand in 5e:


Bigby’s Crushing Hand


9th-level evocation
Casting time: 1 action
Range: 120 feet
Components: V, S, M (an egg shell and a snake skin glove)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

You create a huge translucent hand attacking a target you can see. The target is grappled by the hand and takes force damage on the start of its turn.
On the first turn the target takes 2d10, on the second turn 4d10 and 6d10 force damage on every following turn.
The hand is an object has AC 20 and hit points equal to your hit point maximum. If it drops to 0 hit points, the spell ends.


Conclusion

As you might have realised, converting spells is never easy and highly subjective. There are many ways to the same goal. Our goal is to make our World of Greyhawk experience unique, different from a homebrew of Forgotten Realms campaign. And with every new spell that used to be a Greyhawk exclusive, we are getting closer to our goal.

Next time we are going to convert Bigby’s Battering Gauntlet.

See you in the Green Dragon Inn,

Frogsama

Named Wizard Spells (Circle/Citadel of Eight) in 5e

There are many Dungeons & Dragons wizard spells in 5th Edition. Most of them were ported over from edition to edition but some were lost. Others lost the creators name and others got simplified and merged (e.g. Bigby’s hand spells).

I like to present to you a list of named spells from the World of Greyhawk in 2nd Edition. We start with the spells of members of the Citadel or Circle of Eight. So let’s see which spells were not ported to 5e and in further episodes create every spell for 5th Edition.

Spells

Bold spells are already converted into 5th Edition.

Bigby

* These spells are all put together in one spell in 5th edition: Bigby’s Hand

Drawmij
  • Drawmij’s Adventurer’s Luck
  • Drawmij’s Beast of Burden
  • Drawmij’s Beneficent Polymorph
  • Drawmij’s Breath of Life
  • Drawmij’s Flying Carpet
  • Drawmij’s Flying Feat
  • Drawmij’s Handy Timepiece
  • Drawmij’s Instant Exit
  • Drawmij’s Instant Summons
  • Drawmij’s Iron Sack
  • Drawmij’s Light Step
  • Drawmij’s Marvelous shield
  • Drawmij’s Merciful Metamorphosis
  • Drawmij’s Protection From Non-magical Gas
  • Drawmij’s Scent Mask
  • Drawmij’s Swift Mount
  • Drawmij’s Tool Box
Leomund
  • Leomund’s Hidden Lodge
  • Leomund’s Lamentable Belaborment
  • Leomund’s Lifeboat
  • Leomund’s Many Life Preservers
  • Leomund’s Secret Chest
  • Leomund’s Secure Shelter
  • Leomund’s Tiny Hut
  • Leomund’s Trap
Melf
  • Melf’s Acid Arrow
  • Melf’s Minute Meteors
  • Melf’s Unicorn Arrow
Mordenkainen
  • Mordenkainen’s Buzzing Bee
  • Mordenkainen’s Capable Caravel
  • Mordenkainen’s Celerity
  • Mordenkainen’s Defense Against Reptiles
  • Mordenkainen’s Disjunction
  • Mordenkainen’s Electric Arc
  • Mordenkainen’s Encompassing Vision
  • Mordenkainen’s Faithful Hound
  • Mordenkainen’s Faithful Phantom Defenders
  • Mordenkainen’s Faithful Phantom Guardian
  • Mordenkainen’s Faithful Phantom Shield-Maidens
  • Mordenkainen’s Force Missiles
  • Mordenkainen’s Involuntary Wizardry
  • Mordenkainen’s Lucubration
  • Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Mansion
  • Mordenkainen’s Penultimate Cogitation
  • Mordenkainen’s Private Sanctum
  • Mordenkainen’s Protection From Avians
  • Mordenkainen’s Protection From Insects and Arachnids
  • Mordenkainen’s Protection Against Lycanthropes
  • Mordenkainen’s Protection From Slime
  • Mordenkainen’s Sword
  • Mordenkainen’s Trusted Bloodhound
Nystul
  • Nystul’s Blazing Beam
  • Nystul’s Blacklight Burst
  • Nystul’s Blackmote
  • Nystul’s Crystal Dagger
  • Nystul’s Crystal Dirk
  • Nystul’s Dancing Dweomer
  • Nystul’s Dancing Werelight
  • Nystul’s Enveloping Darkness
  • Nystul’s Expeditious Fire Extinguisher
  • Nystul’s Flash
  • Nystul’s Golden Revelation
  • Nystul’s Grue Conjuration
  • Nystul’s Lightburst
  • Nystul’s Magic Aura
  • Nystul’s Magical Mask
  • Nystul’s Radiant Arch
  • Nystul’s Radiant Baton
Otiluke
  • Otiluke’s Acid Cloud
  • Otiluke’s Boiling Oil Bath
  • Otiluke’s Bubbling Buoyancy
  • Otiluke’s Death Screen
  • Otiluke’s Diamond Screen
  • Otiluke’s Dispelling Screen
  • Otiluke’s Electrical Screen
  • Otiluke’s Excruciating Screen
  • Otiluke’s Fire and Ice
  • Otiluke’s Force Umbrella
  • Otiluke’s Freezing Sphere
  • Otiluke’s Greater Dispelling Screen
  • Otiluke’s Orb of Containment
  • Otiluke’s Polar Screen
  • Otiluke’s Radiant Screen
  • Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere
  • Otiluke’s Screen
  • Otiluke’s Siege Sphere
  • Otiluke’s Smoky Sphere
  • Otiluke’s Steaming Sphere
  • Otiluke’s Telekinetic Sphere
Otto
  • Otto’s Chime of Release
  • Otto’s Crystal Rhythms
  • Otto’s Dancing Sphere
  • Otto’s Drums of Despair
  • Otto’s Gong of Isolation
  • Otto’s Irresistable Dance
  • Otto’s Resistable Dance
  • Otto’s Rousing Anthem
  • Otto’s Silver Tongue
  • Otto’s Soothing Vibrations
  • Otto’s Sure-Footed Shuffle
  • Otto’s Tonal Attack
  • Otto’s Tones of Forgetfulness
  • Otto’s Triple Chime
  • Otto’s Warding Tones
Rary
  • Rary’s Aptitude Appropriater
  • Rary’s Defensive Spell Enhancer
  • Rary’s Empathic Perception
  • Rary’s Hesitation
  • Rary’s Interplanar Telepathic Bond
  • Rary’s Lesser Telepathic Bond
  • Rary’s Memory Alteration
  • Rary’s Mind Scan
  • Rary’s Mind Shield
  • Rary’s Mnemonic Enhancer
  • Rary’s Plane Truth
  • Rary’s Protection From Scrying
  • Rary’s Replay of the Past
  • Rary’s Spell Enhancer
  • Rary’s Superior Spell Enhancer
  • Rary’s Telepathic Bond
  • Rary’s Urgent Utterance
  • Rary’s Vicious Missiles
Serten
  • Serten’s Spell Immunity
Tenser
  • Tenser’s Brawl
  • Tenser’s Deadly Strike
  • Tenser’s Destructive Resonance
  • Tenser’s Eye of the Eagle
  • Tenser’s Eye of the Tiger
  • Tenser’s Flaming Blade
  • Tenser’s Floating Disc
  • Tenser’s Greater Floating Disc
  • Tenser’s Fortunes of War
  • Tenser’s Giant Strength
  • Tenser’s Hunting Hawk
  • Tenser’s Master of Arms
  • Tenser’s Primal Fury
  • Tenser’s Running Warrior
  • Tenser’s Staff of Smiting
  • Tenser’s Steady Aim
  • Tenser’s Transformation

As we can see there are many spells missing in 5th Edition. Many of the spells above are not only from the Advanced D&D 2nd edition Player’s Handbook but from other sources like published adventures and the Dragon Magazine.

Next week we are going to look at Bigby’s spell list and convert his spells to 5e.

See you in the Green Dragon Inn,

Frogsama

Mechanics Monday: Greyhawk’s Human Races 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 of it.

Today’s Mechanic:

Today we talk about the Greyhawk’s Human Races. In the World of Greyhawk, especially in the Flanaess, are five different main races. The races are Oeridian, Suel, Flan, Baklunish and Rhennee. Two more rare races, Olman and Touv, will not be part of this post.

You can read more about the races in the World of Greyhawk campaign book or visit this Great Library of Greyhawk wiki entry.

Human races in 5th edition

Basicly, in 5th edition there are no differences in character creation between human subraces. Especially with the mixing of heritage in humans this design decision makes sense. Ultimately, labeling human races as more intelligent than others can be a troubling assertion and edges sparly over the line to racism.

But in general, there are two different methods for Humans in 5e. Normal humans gain +1 in each ability score. The Variant Human ruling gives them and increasement by 1 on two different ability scores, one skill proficiency and 1 Feat.

How it’s used to be in 2nd edition

Nevertheless, in 2nd edition the Player’s Guide by Anne Brown they distinguish between races and give them different ability stat modifiers.

  • Baklunish (+1 Wis, -1 Cha when not talking to Baklunish)
  • Flan (+1 Con, -1 Int when applied to learn new spells)
  • Oeridian (+1 Dex, -1 Wis)
  • Rhennee (+1 Str, -2 Cha when not talking to Rhennee)
  • Suel (+1 Int, -1 Cha)

What’s better?

Obviously this is in general a preference choice. I agree with the sentiment to not give any race a benefit over the other in terms of ability scores. So the 5th edition version is for sure more sensible, but there is still something we can implement to give a distinct different feel between races.

How we tweak it

We give raise one ability stat by 1 and one by 2. This is inline with typical bonuses of other subraces (e.g. wood elf). Furthermore, each subrace gets two features.

Baklunish
  • Languages: Ancient Baklunish, Common and one other
  • Arcane prowess. Since old times the Baklunish are good with magic. They have proficiency in Arcana. If they gain proficiency by other means, double their proficiency bonus instead.
  • Life of Trade. The Baklunish are adept traders and can haggle any price getting advantage on any Persuasion roll regarding trading. They also get advantage on any Investigation roll to appraise goods and check if they are fake.
Oeridian
  • Languages: Common, Old Oeridian and one other
  • Nimbleness. Oeridians are very nimble. They have proficiency in Acrobatics. If they gain proficiency by other means, double their proficiency bonus instead.
  • Adept Fighter. Oeridians are excellent combatants. They can use their bonus action to raise their bonus to hit by 1 and their reaction to raise their AC by 1. The use of the feature needs to be declared before dice are rolled.
Flan
  • Languages: Common, Flan and one other
  • Bond to Nature. The Flan are closer to nature than others. They have proficiency in Nature. If they gain proficiency by other means, double their proficiency bonus instead.
  • Horse people. Flan are adept horse riders. They make Animal Handling checks with advantage when interacting with a horse. Additionally mounting a horse is a bonus action and dismounting costs 5 ft. of movement. The horses speed is raised by 10 ft..
Rhennee
  • Languages: Common, Rhennee Cant and one other
  • Good hands. Working on a boat, crafting and a little bit of stealing are normal activities for Rhennee. They have proficiency in Sleight of Hand. If they gain proficiency by other means, double their proficiency bonus instead.
  • Living on a boat. Rhennee live many years of their lives on ships and are used to travelling on the sea. They will never get sick and gain advantage on all activities normal for the life on the ship. Some examples are Survival for navigation or Acrobatics to climb on a mast.
Suel
  • Languages: Common, Suloise and one other
  • Born crafters. Suel have a talent for all crafts and arts. They gain proficiency in one tool of your choice. If they have it already through other means, double their proficiency bonus instead.
  • Blood of a Suel. Suel have the magical aptitude of their ancestors gaining +1 on any saving throw against spells and they raise their own Spell DC by 1.

Conclusion

This solution uses the strength of human adaptability (free ability increasement choice) paired with a race feature and race skill. The goal is to avoid racism and still give a different feel to each subrace.

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 Named Spells from the mages of Greyhawk.

See you in the Green Dragon Inn,

Frogsama

Mechanics Monday: Potion of Longevity 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 of it.

Today’s Mechanic:

Today we talk about the Potion of Longevity. This potion is rather prominent in Greyhawk. Many important figures in the world have used the potion. Some of them are Mordenkainen, Kieren Jalucian, the Guildmaster of the Guild of Wizardry and King Belvor of Furyondy.

The potion is also talked about in the City of Greyhawk boxed set where a group named the Shapechangers provide an ingredient to Kondradis Bubka, the mage of Exchange, for it.

Potion of Longevity in 5th edition

In 5th edition the potion is rated as a very rare potion that decreases the consumer’s age by 1d6 + 6 (9.5) years. On a 10% chance the effect is opposite making the consumer age for that amount. The chance raises cumulatively, There are also some hints of ingredientd, most notably a tiny beating heart.

How it’s used to be in 2nd edition

In 2nd edition the potion restores only 1d12 (6.5) years. On a 1% chance the effect reverses and all age will be restored. The chance also raises cumulatively. This means the chance that the potion fails is lower but more damaging to the consumer.

What’s better?

Obviously this is in general a preference choice. But, for the Greyhawk setting it makes the most sense to stick with the low percentage failure.

The potion is rather popular with the wealthy and highly magical folk. Kieren Jalucian must have used it a dozen times. This wouldn’t be possible with the 5th edition version

Now we should adress the creation and price of such a valuable potion.

How we tweak it

I think for the Greyhawk setting we use a combination of both potions.

1d6 + 6 years per dosis reduces the variance greatly, which is good for value and enjoyment of your players if they ever find one. The negative effect from 2nd edition is also better for us in my opinion. So 1% cumulative chance to lose all age effects and age increase is our choice.

For creation the City of Greyhawk boxed set describes elvish bone marrow and blood as a key ingredient. The other key ingredient we take is from 5th edition, a tiny beating heart. I suggest this heart must be from an non-adolescent immortal being, a child vampire.

For a reasonable price in 5e one of my favourite sources, 5e Magic Shop, suggests 9000 gp. As we have a more powerful iteration a better price would be 12000 gp.

Kondradis Bubka might buy 20g of elvish bone marrrow and 100ml of elvish blood for 1000 gp and the vampire heart for 4000 gp and then pay Heironymus Tigana, the guild’s alchemist, 1000 gp to concoct the potion.

Conclusion

The potion of longevity gives a lot of room for quests and adventure. The group could find about the Shapechangers illegal torture and murder. Kondradis Bubka is for sure not innocent buying from. Furthermore, where does he get the vampire hearts from?

One source I can suggest could be Ferrenan, Prince of the House of Cranden. He is an evil vampire of Blackspinter in the Great Kingdom. He might use his power to turn children and then ship their hearts to the City of Greyhawk. You can read more of him in the Ivid the Undying supplement.

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 Greyhawk’s Human Races in 5e.

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

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

Mechanics Monday Archives - Page 2 of 2 - Frogsama's Greyhawk Adventures

Spell Conversion: Bigby’s Battering Gauntlet in 5e

In our Spell Conversion Series we will look at spells from 2nd edition that didn’t make it into the 5th edition of D&D. For a full list of all named spells, go here.

Method

In order to convert a spell we need to look at the guidelines of the Dungeon Master’s Guide, at the original spell in 2nd edition and at the existing spells in 5e. The new spell shouldn’t overshadow an existing spell nor be too complicated.

5th edition’s biggest advantage over older editions is that spells are extremely streamlined and bookkeeping on the Dungeon Master’s side is kept to a minimum.

Also, some spells might be used for a specific situation. This showcases how some mages in Greyhawk invented magic for their own needs. Consider players to get in touch with those unique spells by meeting disciples of these famous mages (or even the mage himself) rather than handing them out freely.

The spell

Today we look at Bigby’s Battering Gauntlet. The spell has a really specific mechanic but is at the same time inccurate in its effect. It is understandable that WotC disregarded this spell, especially with the streamlining of structure damage.

But the spell is still unique and can be converted. Let’s look at the important mechanics we want to convert:

  • 4th Level, targeting a door
  • Destroys a door in a number of times depending on the door’s material
  • Spawn a new entity (big ram)
  • Can only be magically dispelled or destroyed

You can compare this spell with Knock in its function to get past a door and gameplaywise with a structure damaging spell. The specific design to only work against doors (no damage against creatures or walls) needs to be the spell’s strength and weakness.

Ultimately, a 4th level spell should be more powerful than a 2nd level Knock and at the same time not fail in its only purpose. Destroying a door. So I decided to enhance the spell to always break metal doors and its effect against magical doors.

Considering all of this, this is my conversion of Bigby’s Battering Gauntlet in 5e:


Bigby’s Battering Gauntlet

4th-level evocation
Casting time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S, M (metal rod with metal gauntlet)
Duration: 1 minute

You create a metal ram that modifies its size by fitting the door it is caat on.It immediately starts attacking the door, destroying any wooden door with its first attack, stone doors with the second and metal doors with its fourth.
Arcane locks are dispeĺled on the first attack (wooden door with an Arcane Lock therefore destroyed in two turns. Every other magical lock of higher quality has a 50% chance to withstand an attack.
The ram is an object, has AC 15 and hit points equal to half of your hit point maximum. If it drops to 0 hit points or the door is destroyed, the spell ends.


Conclusion

As you might have realised, converting spells is never easy and highly subjective. There are many ways to the same goal. Our goal is to make our World of Greyhawk experience unique, different from a homebrew of Forgotten Realms campaign. And with every new spell that used to be a Greyhawk exclusive, we are getting closer to our goal.

Next time we are going to convert Bigby’s Besieging Bolt.

See you in the Green Dragon Inn,

Frogsama

Spell Conversion: Bigby’s Crushing Hand in 5e

In our Spell Conversion Series we will look at spells from 2nd edition that didn’t make it into the 5th edition of D&D. For a full list of all named spells, go here.

Method

In order to convert a spell we need to look at the guidelines of the Dungeon Master’s Guide, at the original spell in 2nd edition and at the existing spells in 5e. The new spell shouldn’t overshadow an existing spell nor be too complicated.

5th edition’s biggest advantage over older editions is that spells are extremely streamlined and bookkeeping on the Dungeon Master’s side is kept to a minimum.

Also, some spells might be used for a specific situation. This showcases how some mages in Greyhawk invented magic for their own needs. Consider players to get in touch with those unique spells by meeting disciples of these famous mages (or even the mage himself) rather than handing them out freely.

The spell

Today we look at Bigby’s Crushing Hand. The spell has a lot of weird and special mechanics. It is understandable that WotC disregarded this spell, especially with the new mechanic of using a spell on a higher spell level.

But the spell is still unique and can be converted. Let’s look at the important mechanics we want to convert:

  • 9th Level, one target, concentration spell
  • Increasing damage over time
  • Spawn a new entity (big hand)
  • Never misses
  • Auto-grapple

The best spell to compare it to is a Bigby’s Hand cast on 9th level in 5th edition. If you cast it and use the Clenched Fist you make a melee spell attack doing 12d8 damage. Because the Crushing Hand never misses, auto-grapples the damage should be a little lower. On the other hand, Bigby’s Hand is more versatile.

Ultimately, a 9th level spell should be more powerful than a 5th level spell cast on a higher level.

Also the 5th edition Dungeon Master’s Guide states a 9th level spell with half damage save should do 15d10 damage. A never miss spell should do approximately 2/3 of that.

Considering all of this, this is my conversion of Bigby’s Crushing Hand in 5e:


Bigby’s Crushing Hand


9th-level evocation
Casting time: 1 action
Range: 120 feet
Components: V, S, M (an egg shell and a snake skin glove)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

You create a huge translucent hand attacking a target you can see. The target is grappled by the hand and takes force damage on the start of its turn.
On the first turn the target takes 2d10, on the second turn 4d10 and 6d10 force damage on every following turn.
The hand is an object has AC 20 and hit points equal to your hit point maximum. If it drops to 0 hit points, the spell ends.


Conclusion

As you might have realised, converting spells is never easy and highly subjective. There are many ways to the same goal. Our goal is to make our World of Greyhawk experience unique, different from a homebrew of Forgotten Realms campaign. And with every new spell that used to be a Greyhawk exclusive, we are getting closer to our goal.

Next time we are going to convert Bigby’s Battering Gauntlet.

See you in the Green Dragon Inn,

Frogsama

Named Wizard Spells (Circle/Citadel of Eight) in 5e

There are many Dungeons & Dragons wizard spells in 5th Edition. Most of them were ported over from edition to edition but some were lost. Others lost the creators name and others got simplified and merged (e.g. Bigby’s hand spells).

I like to present to you a list of named spells from the World of Greyhawk in 2nd Edition. We start with the spells of members of the Citadel or Circle of Eight. So let’s see which spells were not ported to 5e and in further episodes create every spell for 5th Edition.

Spells

Bold spells are already converted into 5th Edition.

Bigby

* These spells are all put together in one spell in 5th edition: Bigby’s Hand

Drawmij
  • Drawmij’s Adventurer’s Luck
  • Drawmij’s Beast of Burden
  • Drawmij’s Beneficent Polymorph
  • Drawmij’s Breath of Life
  • Drawmij’s Flying Carpet
  • Drawmij’s Flying Feat
  • Drawmij’s Handy Timepiece
  • Drawmij’s Instant Exit
  • Drawmij’s Instant Summons
  • Drawmij’s Iron Sack
  • Drawmij’s Light Step
  • Drawmij’s Marvelous shield
  • Drawmij’s Merciful Metamorphosis
  • Drawmij’s Protection From Non-magical Gas
  • Drawmij’s Scent Mask
  • Drawmij’s Swift Mount
  • Drawmij’s Tool Box
Leomund
  • Leomund’s Hidden Lodge
  • Leomund’s Lamentable Belaborment
  • Leomund’s Lifeboat
  • Leomund’s Many Life Preservers
  • Leomund’s Secret Chest
  • Leomund’s Secure Shelter
  • Leomund’s Tiny Hut
  • Leomund’s Trap
Melf
  • Melf’s Acid Arrow
  • Melf’s Minute Meteors
  • Melf’s Unicorn Arrow
Mordenkainen
  • Mordenkainen’s Buzzing Bee
  • Mordenkainen’s Capable Caravel
  • Mordenkainen’s Celerity
  • Mordenkainen’s Defense Against Reptiles
  • Mordenkainen’s Disjunction
  • Mordenkainen’s Electric Arc
  • Mordenkainen’s Encompassing Vision
  • Mordenkainen’s Faithful Hound
  • Mordenkainen’s Faithful Phantom Defenders
  • Mordenkainen’s Faithful Phantom Guardian
  • Mordenkainen’s Faithful Phantom Shield-Maidens
  • Mordenkainen’s Force Missiles
  • Mordenkainen’s Involuntary Wizardry
  • Mordenkainen’s Lucubration
  • Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Mansion
  • Mordenkainen’s Penultimate Cogitation
  • Mordenkainen’s Private Sanctum
  • Mordenkainen’s Protection From Avians
  • Mordenkainen’s Protection From Insects and Arachnids
  • Mordenkainen’s Protection Against Lycanthropes
  • Mordenkainen’s Protection From Slime
  • Mordenkainen’s Sword
  • Mordenkainen’s Trusted Bloodhound
Nystul
  • Nystul’s Blazing Beam
  • Nystul’s Blacklight Burst
  • Nystul’s Blackmote
  • Nystul’s Crystal Dagger
  • Nystul’s Crystal Dirk
  • Nystul’s Dancing Dweomer
  • Nystul’s Dancing Werelight
  • Nystul’s Enveloping Darkness
  • Nystul’s Expeditious Fire Extinguisher
  • Nystul’s Flash
  • Nystul’s Golden Revelation
  • Nystul’s Grue Conjuration
  • Nystul’s Lightburst
  • Nystul’s Magic Aura
  • Nystul’s Magical Mask
  • Nystul’s Radiant Arch
  • Nystul’s Radiant Baton
Otiluke
  • Otiluke’s Acid Cloud
  • Otiluke’s Boiling Oil Bath
  • Otiluke’s Bubbling Buoyancy
  • Otiluke’s Death Screen
  • Otiluke’s Diamond Screen
  • Otiluke’s Dispelling Screen
  • Otiluke’s Electrical Screen
  • Otiluke’s Excruciating Screen
  • Otiluke’s Fire and Ice
  • Otiluke’s Force Umbrella
  • Otiluke’s Freezing Sphere
  • Otiluke’s Greater Dispelling Screen
  • Otiluke’s Orb of Containment
  • Otiluke’s Polar Screen
  • Otiluke’s Radiant Screen
  • Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere
  • Otiluke’s Screen
  • Otiluke’s Siege Sphere
  • Otiluke’s Smoky Sphere
  • Otiluke’s Steaming Sphere
  • Otiluke’s Telekinetic Sphere
Otto
  • Otto’s Chime of Release
  • Otto’s Crystal Rhythms
  • Otto’s Dancing Sphere
  • Otto’s Drums of Despair
  • Otto’s Gong of Isolation
  • Otto’s Irresistable Dance
  • Otto’s Resistable Dance
  • Otto’s Rousing Anthem
  • Otto’s Silver Tongue
  • Otto’s Soothing Vibrations
  • Otto’s Sure-Footed Shuffle
  • Otto’s Tonal Attack
  • Otto’s Tones of Forgetfulness
  • Otto’s Triple Chime
  • Otto’s Warding Tones
Rary
  • Rary’s Aptitude Appropriater
  • Rary’s Defensive Spell Enhancer
  • Rary’s Empathic Perception
  • Rary’s Hesitation
  • Rary’s Interplanar Telepathic Bond
  • Rary’s Lesser Telepathic Bond
  • Rary’s Memory Alteration
  • Rary’s Mind Scan
  • Rary’s Mind Shield
  • Rary’s Mnemonic Enhancer
  • Rary’s Plane Truth
  • Rary’s Protection From Scrying
  • Rary’s Replay of the Past
  • Rary’s Spell Enhancer
  • Rary’s Superior Spell Enhancer
  • Rary’s Telepathic Bond
  • Rary’s Urgent Utterance
  • Rary’s Vicious Missiles
Serten
  • Serten’s Spell Immunity
Tenser
  • Tenser’s Brawl
  • Tenser’s Deadly Strike
  • Tenser’s Destructive Resonance
  • Tenser’s Eye of the Eagle
  • Tenser’s Eye of the Tiger
  • Tenser’s Flaming Blade
  • Tenser’s Floating Disc
  • Tenser’s Greater Floating Disc
  • Tenser’s Fortunes of War
  • Tenser’s Giant Strength
  • Tenser’s Hunting Hawk
  • Tenser’s Master of Arms
  • Tenser’s Primal Fury
  • Tenser’s Running Warrior
  • Tenser’s Staff of Smiting
  • Tenser’s Steady Aim
  • Tenser’s Transformation

As we can see there are many spells missing in 5th Edition. Many of the spells above are not only from the Advanced D&D 2nd edition Player’s Handbook but from other sources like published adventures and the Dragon Magazine.

Next week we are going to look at Bigby’s spell list and convert his spells to 5e.

See you in the Green Dragon Inn,

Frogsama

Mechanics Monday: Greyhawk’s Human Races 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 of it.

Today’s Mechanic:

Today we talk about the Greyhawk’s Human Races. In the World of Greyhawk, especially in the Flanaess, are five different main races. The races are Oeridian, Suel, Flan, Baklunish and Rhennee. Two more rare races, Olman and Touv, will not be part of this post.

You can read more about the races in the World of Greyhawk campaign book or visit this Great Library of Greyhawk wiki entry.

Human races in 5th edition

Basicly, in 5th edition there are no differences in character creation between human subraces. Especially with the mixing of heritage in humans this design decision makes sense. Ultimately, labeling human races as more intelligent than others can be a troubling assertion and edges sparly over the line to racism.

But in general, there are two different methods for Humans in 5e. Normal humans gain +1 in each ability score. The Variant Human ruling gives them and increasement by 1 on two different ability scores, one skill proficiency and 1 Feat.

How it’s used to be in 2nd edition

Nevertheless, in 2nd edition the Player’s Guide by Anne Brown they distinguish between races and give them different ability stat modifiers.

  • Baklunish (+1 Wis, -1 Cha when not talking to Baklunish)
  • Flan (+1 Con, -1 Int when applied to learn new spells)
  • Oeridian (+1 Dex, -1 Wis)
  • Rhennee (+1 Str, -2 Cha when not talking to Rhennee)
  • Suel (+1 Int, -1 Cha)

What’s better?

Obviously this is in general a preference choice. I agree with the sentiment to not give any race a benefit over the other in terms of ability scores. So the 5th edition version is for sure more sensible, but there is still something we can implement to give a distinct different feel between races.

How we tweak it

We give raise one ability stat by 1 and one by 2. This is inline with typical bonuses of other subraces (e.g. wood elf). Furthermore, each subrace gets two features.

Baklunish
  • Languages: Ancient Baklunish, Common and one other
  • Arcane prowess. Since old times the Baklunish are good with magic. They have proficiency in Arcana. If they gain proficiency by other means, double their proficiency bonus instead.
  • Life of Trade. The Baklunish are adept traders and can haggle any price getting advantage on any Persuasion roll regarding trading. They also get advantage on any Investigation roll to appraise goods and check if they are fake.
Oeridian
  • Languages: Common, Old Oeridian and one other
  • Nimbleness. Oeridians are very nimble. They have proficiency in Acrobatics. If they gain proficiency by other means, double their proficiency bonus instead.
  • Adept Fighter. Oeridians are excellent combatants. They can use their bonus action to raise their bonus to hit by 1 and their reaction to raise their AC by 1. The use of the feature needs to be declared before dice are rolled.
Flan
  • Languages: Common, Flan and one other
  • Bond to Nature. The Flan are closer to nature than others. They have proficiency in Nature. If they gain proficiency by other means, double their proficiency bonus instead.
  • Horse people. Flan are adept horse riders. They make Animal Handling checks with advantage when interacting with a horse. Additionally mounting a horse is a bonus action and dismounting costs 5 ft. of movement. The horses speed is raised by 10 ft..
Rhennee
  • Languages: Common, Rhennee Cant and one other
  • Good hands. Working on a boat, crafting and a little bit of stealing are normal activities for Rhennee. They have proficiency in Sleight of Hand. If they gain proficiency by other means, double their proficiency bonus instead.
  • Living on a boat. Rhennee live many years of their lives on ships and are used to travelling on the sea. They will never get sick and gain advantage on all activities normal for the life on the ship. Some examples are Survival for navigation or Acrobatics to climb on a mast.
Suel
  • Languages: Common, Suloise and one other
  • Born crafters. Suel have a talent for all crafts and arts. They gain proficiency in one tool of your choice. If they have it already through other means, double their proficiency bonus instead.
  • Blood of a Suel. Suel have the magical aptitude of their ancestors gaining +1 on any saving throw against spells and they raise their own Spell DC by 1.

Conclusion

This solution uses the strength of human adaptability (free ability increasement choice) paired with a race feature and race skill. The goal is to avoid racism and still give a different feel to each subrace.

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 Named Spells from the mages of Greyhawk.

See you in the Green Dragon Inn,

Frogsama

Mechanics Monday: Potion of Longevity 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 of it.

Today’s Mechanic:

Today we talk about the Potion of Longevity. This potion is rather prominent in Greyhawk. Many important figures in the world have used the potion. Some of them are Mordenkainen, Kieren Jalucian, the Guildmaster of the Guild of Wizardry and King Belvor of Furyondy.

The potion is also talked about in the City of Greyhawk boxed set where a group named the Shapechangers provide an ingredient to Kondradis Bubka, the mage of Exchange, for it.

Potion of Longevity in 5th edition

In 5th edition the potion is rated as a very rare potion that decreases the consumer’s age by 1d6 + 6 (9.5) years. On a 10% chance the effect is opposite making the consumer age for that amount. The chance raises cumulatively, There are also some hints of ingredientd, most notably a tiny beating heart.

How it’s used to be in 2nd edition

In 2nd edition the potion restores only 1d12 (6.5) years. On a 1% chance the effect reverses and all age will be restored. The chance also raises cumulatively. This means the chance that the potion fails is lower but more damaging to the consumer.

What’s better?

Obviously this is in general a preference choice. But, for the Greyhawk setting it makes the most sense to stick with the low percentage failure.

The potion is rather popular with the wealthy and highly magical folk. Kieren Jalucian must have used it a dozen times. This wouldn’t be possible with the 5th edition version

Now we should adress the creation and price of such a valuable potion.

How we tweak it

I think for the Greyhawk setting we use a combination of both potions.

1d6 + 6 years per dosis reduces the variance greatly, which is good for value and enjoyment of your players if they ever find one. The negative effect from 2nd edition is also better for us in my opinion. So 1% cumulative chance to lose all age effects and age increase is our choice.

For creation the City of Greyhawk boxed set describes elvish bone marrow and blood as a key ingredient. The other key ingredient we take is from 5th edition, a tiny beating heart. I suggest this heart must be from an non-adolescent immortal being, a child vampire.

For a reasonable price in 5e one of my favourite sources, 5e Magic Shop, suggests 9000 gp. As we have a more powerful iteration a better price would be 12000 gp.

Kondradis Bubka might buy 20g of elvish bone marrrow and 100ml of elvish blood for 1000 gp and the vampire heart for 4000 gp and then pay Heironymus Tigana, the guild’s alchemist, 1000 gp to concoct the potion.

Conclusion

The potion of longevity gives a lot of room for quests and adventure. The group could find about the Shapechangers illegal torture and murder. Kondradis Bubka is for sure not innocent buying from. Furthermore, where does he get the vampire hearts from?

One source I can suggest could be Ferrenan, Prince of the House of Cranden. He is an evil vampire of Blackspinter in the Great Kingdom. He might use his power to turn children and then ship their hearts to the City of Greyhawk. You can read more of him in the Ivid the Undying supplement.

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 Greyhawk’s Human Races in 5e.

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

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