Coin Zombies

 Moneeeeeeey

Moneeeeeeey

Zombies are slow. How do you make it easier for them to eat the brains of still-moving creatures? You make the prey WANT to come near the zombie!

Taken directly from 13th Age, the coin zombies prey on the greed of other creatures by compelling them to come closer.

Throw these baddies at your players for a fun variation on the zombie. I'll bet they see how much money they can get from them!

If you liked this, be sure to check out 13th Age, it's full of fun ideas like this!

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The Chessmen

Chess is a familiar game to many people. Even if you don't know how to play, probably know there are pieces like the knight or the queen.

A group of enemies based around chess pieces make a great group of enemies. You have a group of enemies that all work together as a unit, and their visual appearance and mechanics reinforce their chess-game roles.

You could have a tinkerer or wizard called "The Grandmaster" who has created robotic servants and guardians. These Chessmen work great for a short arc, but watch out for the queen!

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Enjoy the Chessmen!

Pokemon D&D 5e: Johto Pokedex

Johto Pokedex

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The Johto pokedex for D&D 5e is now here!

I hope you enjoy the all of the pokemon from the Gold and Silver games, which were my favorite!

I applied more of my monster creation knowledge to these pokemon, but beware! They haven't been tested in the field yet. There may be some unintentional imbalances, so just look them over before you use them in your 5th edition D&D game. I also tried to cover a wide variety of CRs for the pokemon, so don't expect them to be as strong or weak as they were in the games!

I also made these stat blocks a different way than the Kanto pokedex, so if you see something wrong, let me know and I can easily fix it! You can give me a shout on twitter @pirategonzalez.

Thanks for checking the pokemon out! If you enjoyed this, please consider checking out my Kickstarter for 5e, the Archive of Magic Items! It's a collection of 350+ unique, interesting items for your 5e game.

Gotta Catch ‘Em All!

(You can download a consolidated PDF of the pokedex here.)

Domain of Smash Bros

YOU HAVE BEEN CHOSEN

Did you hear the good news? Smash Bros is coming to the Nintendo Switch, and I can't wait to play it.

The announcement trailer was surprisingly intense. The squid kids from Splatoon find themselves in a dark landscape illuminated only by the fiery light of the Smash Bros symbol, and the silhouettes of the fighters.

The Smash Bros symbol had an almost supernatural feel to it. It seemed like a holy symbol of sorts.

The idea of a supernatural being that selects the best fighters across the universe fits right into D&D. I created a brand new domain for Clerics, the Domain of Smash Battles, with that in mind. Check it out!

Homebrewery Link: https://homebrewery.naturalcrit.com/share/HyWF3UH4tz

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Johto Pokedex 5E

Johto Pokedex

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The Johto pokedex for 5E will be coming soon!

Ages ago I created the Kanto pokedex, a book containing the stats of the original 151 pokemon for D&D 5e.

After the success of the Kanto pokedex, I’d received inquiries about doing a johto pokedex. At the time, I wasn’t able to do a new pokedex. The time commitment was too large, and I wanted to work on some other projects first (cough cough, Archive of Magic Items).

Well, it has now been long enough, and the Johto pokedex is almost ready to debut!

I’m excited about this version, because I’ve learned a lot about monster creation since the original Kanto pokedex. Many of the pokemon I stated were very powerful or imbalanced. I’ve applied what I’ve learned since then, and you should see a more balanced array of pokemon. Don’t get me wrong, there are still going to be some outliers, but since I’m not going to playtest each pokemon, we’ll have to live with that. Feel free to let me know if you see anything significant though!

Here are some previews from the pokedex! If you’re interested in when the full pokedex releases, follow me for updates!

Click here if you want to see the Kanto pokedex.

Gotta Catch ‘Em All!

Simplified Spells: Evocation

The Challenge

I’ve always wanted a better magic system for D&D. I understand that they’re tied to using Vancian magic, but it’s always kept me from playing a magic user. 5th edition has made it a lot better, in my opinion, but I still find it lacking.

One of my issues is that there are so many spells with very minor differences. Part of this is because, in the core rules, there isn’t a way to customize spells (GM can always change things, of course). We have the firebolt cantrip, which does 1d10 fire damage, but what if you want to do cold or lightning? Sure, you could take shocking grasp, but that’s a melee spell. Why can’t we just have arcane bolt, and then pick an element?

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Many RPGs have been moving toward a more narrative, free-form style lately. The new Genesys system, for example, has a very open spellcasting system. I want to see if we can incorporate something like that into D&D.

Let’s try focusing all of the spells from a D&D arcane school into a single spell, starting with evocation. Evocation is generally pure damage, which is the easiest type of spell to balance. Let’s make the damage spell, our catch-all spell for damage.

Taking a look at all of the spells that deal damage, and the spell creation rules in the DMG, we can plot out the amount of damage a spell should do at certain spell levels. Our goal here is to:

  1. Use damage similar to that of existing spells
  2. Make something easily scalable
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Certain spells like fireball break the mold, so it’s not going to be an exact match. Some normal spells are going to be stronger or weaker than our damage spell. We can eventually go back and start working on refining the process, but for now we’ll have to accept those discrepancies. Here’s the first pass at the numbers:

Spell Level

Damage

Cantrip

1d10 at 1st level

2d10 at 5th level

3d10 at 11th level

4d10 at 17th level

1

3d8

2

5d8

3

7d8

4

9d8

5

11d8

6

13d8

7

15d8

8

17d8

9

19d8

Spells that target one creature should deal more damage than those that deal damage to multiple creatures. Taking a look at other spells, some have additional effects or abilities that happen as well. All of these spells should deal less damage overall than a spell that deals pure damage.

An easy way to model this would to reduce the size of the dice used.

Let’s take a level 1 spell that hits one creature. By our rules, it would deal 3d8 damage. If we want to hit multiple creatures, then reduce the d8s to d6s. Now, our spell deals 3d6 damage. Let’s update the chart to show what it looks like with lower damage dice.

Spell Level

Damage

Additional Effect Damage

Cantrip

1d10 at 1st level

2d10 at 5th level

3d10 at 11th level

4d10 at 17th level

1d8 at 1st level

2d8 at 5th level

3d8 at 11th level

4d8 at 17th level

1

3d8

3d6

2

5d8

5d6

3

7d8

7d6

4

9d8

9d6

5

11d8

11d6

6

13d8

13d6

7

15d8

15d6

8

17d8

17d6

9

19d8

19d6

You can choose to stack this multiple times as well. If someone wants to affect an even larger area, or have two extra effects, reduce damage die size by another step, from d8 to d4, for example.

A benefit of this system would be flexibility and ease of use. However, does require the GM to decide what kind of effects are acceptable. Instead of specifying exactly what kind of effects are allowable, let’s list some suggestions. This way, each group can decide what works best for them. Some may allow a wider range of effects, while others may require a more focused approach. Both work, but here are some suggestions.

Effect Examples

·         Area of effect: (cone, burst, etc) Hits multiple creatures, allowing a saving throw for half damage.

·         Target can’t take reactions

·         Target can’t regain hit points

·         Reduce target’s speed

·         Divide the attack between multiple targets

·         Force target to make a saving throw instead of attack roll, taking no damage on a successful save

·         Inflict a condition

·         Impose disadvantage on next attack (2)

·         Grant advantage on next attack against it

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Using the Spells

I can think of two ways of using this system.

1.       Customized Spells. Whenever you learn/prepare a spell, you decide which extras or flaws to apply at that time. This lowers on-the-fly spellcasting flexibility, but allows you to pick and create the spells you want to use. This would be the easiest to introduce, since it fits in to the current spellcasting system easily.

2.       Ad Hoc casting. With this method, you just prepare the Destruction spell once. Whenever you cast it, you can choose to add extras or flaws as needed. This grants the most amount of flexibility, since you can tailor your spells to do what you need. However, it only counts as one spell, which means that spellcasters have an infinite amount of damaging spells with one prepared/learned spell. Once we have a full spellcasting system overhaul, we can have a resolution to this, but as of right now I don’t have a good solution for this problem.

The Spell

Anyway, here is what our new destruction spell looks like!

destruction.PNG

This is my first attempt at simplifying the spellcasting system in D&D 5th edition. If you find this interesting, let me know if you have any other ideas or suggestions!

Masks: Overwatch NPCs

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REAPER

Real Name: Gabriel Reyes

Drive: Kill overwatch operatives

Moves:

  • Turn into mist, avoiding all damage.
  • Disappear and reappear somewhere else
  • Fill an area with bullets

Conditions:

  • Angry
  • Insecure
  • Hopeless

Powers: mist form, endless bullets, unkillable.

 

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SOMBRA

Real Name: ??? (Olivia Colomar)

Drive: Unravel the global conspiracy

Moves:

  • Disable a device
  • Hack any system
  • Maneuver into an advantageous position through invisibility or teleportation

Conditions:

  • Afraid
  • Angry
  • hopeless

Powers: Invisibility, teleportation device, hacking

 

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DOOMFIST

Real Name: Akande Ogundimu

Drive: Only through conflict do we evolve

Moves:

  • Destroy with the doomfist
  • Evaluate a target’s weaknesses
  • Knock enemies far away

Conditions:

  • Angry
  • Afraid
  • Hopeless
  • Insecure

Powers: Doomfist gauntlet, cybernetic implants

 

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WIDOWMAKER

Real Name:  Amélie Lacroix

Drive: At the moment of the kill, I am alive

Moves:

  • Hit a target from a far distance
  • An enemy triggers a Venom Mine
  • Grapple to a better position

Conditions:

  • Angry
  • Guilty
  • Hopeless

Powers: Near zero heartrate, enhanced abilities

 

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TRACER

Real Name:  Lena Oxton

Drive: The world could always use more heroes

Moves:

  • Blink a short distance
  • Recall self through time
  • Detonate a pulse bomb

Conditions:

  • Afraid
  • Guilty
  • Hopeless

Powers: Personal time control, pulse pistols

 

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GENJI

Real Name:  Genji Shimada

Drive: Even if I sacrifice my body, I will never sacrifice my honor

Moves:

  • Dash through enemies
  • Reflect attacks
  • Strike multiple foes with the Dragonblade

Conditions:

  • Angry
  • Guilty
  • Insecure

Powers: Cyborg ninja, shuriken, dragonblade

 

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MCCREE

Real Name:  Jesse McCree

Drive: justice ain’t gonna dispense itself

Moves:

  • Hit a precise shot with his Peacekeeper revolver
  • Stun with a flashbang
  • Take your time a line up a shot. If not stopped, you hit what you want.

Conditions:

  • Angry
  • Afraid
  • insecure

Powers: Sharpshooter, Peacekeeper revolver

 

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PHARAH

Real Name:  Fareeha Amari

Drive: I will protect the innocent

Moves:

  • Knock back with a concussive blast
  • Stay out of reach with jump jets
  • Unleash a barrage of rockets

Conditions:

  • Afraid
  • Guilty
  • Insecure

Powers: Raptora combat suit, flight, rockets

 

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SOLDIER 76

Real Name:  Jack Morrison

Drive: We’re all soldiers now

Moves:

  • Pinpoint targets with tactical visor
  • Heal with biotic field
  • Rally troops

Conditions:

  • Angry
  • Guilty
  • hopeless

Powers: Enhanced abilities, heavy pulse rifle with rocket launcher

 

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BASTION

Real Name:  SST Laboratories Siege Automaton E54

Drive: I love Ganymede

Moves:

  • Transform to recon mode, sentry mode, or tank mode
  • Heal self from damage
  • Break barriers and lay suppressing fire

Conditions:

  • Afraid
  • Guilty
  • Insecure

Powers: Self repair, multiple configurations

 

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HANZO

Real Name:  Hanzo Shimada

Drive: With every death comes honor. With honor, redemption

Moves:

  • Hit a target at an impossible angle with scatter arrows
  • Detect enemies with a sonar arrow
  • Clear an area with Dragonstrike, that only damages creatures

Conditions:

  • Angry
  • Guilty
  • Insecure

Powers: Storm bow, dragonstrike

 

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JUNKRAT

Real Name: Jamison Fawkes

Drive: It’s a perfect day for some mayhem

Moves:

  • Launch a target through the air with a concussion mine
  • Trap an enemy in place with a steel trap
  • Cause a large explosion with the RIP-tire

Conditions:

  • Angry
  • Afraid
  • Hopeless

Powers: Frag launcher, mind for explosives

 

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MEI

Real Name:  Mei-Ling Zhou

Drive: Our world is worth fighting for.

Moves:

  • Freeze something with endothermic blaster
  • Summon a wall of ice
  • Have Snowball create blizzard-like conditions

Conditions:

  • Afraid
  • Guilty
  • Hopeless

Powers: Endothermic blaster

 

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TORBJÖRN

Real Name:  Torbjörn Lindholm

Drive: Build ‘em up, break ‘em down.

Moves:

  • Repair a device or item
  • Create an item with personal forge
  • Shoot with entrenched turret

Conditions:

  • Angry
  • Guilty
  • Insecure

Powers: personal forge, rivet gun,

 

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D.VA

Real Name:  Hana Song

Drive: I play to win

Moves:

  • Absorb projectiles with defense matrix
  • Trigger massive self-destruct explosion
  • Master a game

Conditions:

  • Afraid
  • Angry
  • Insecure

Powers: MEKA suit, gaming skills

 

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ROADHOG

Real Name:  Mako Rutledge

Drive: I’m a one-man apocalypse

Moves:

  • Hook a target and drag them close
  • Push enemies back with a flurry of scrap with Whole Hog
  • Get a surge of healing and energy with Take a Breather

Conditions:

  • Angry
  • Afraid
  • Hopeless

Powers: Scrap gun, enhanced strength and endurance, chain hook

 

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WINSTON

Real Name:  Winston

Drive: Imagination is the essence of discovery

Moves:

  • Protect from attacks by placing a barrier projector on the ground
  • Cover a large distance with jump jets
  • Invent a new device
  • When angry, enter a Primal Rage

Conditions:

  • Guilty
  • Angry
  • Insecure

Powers: Genetically engineered gorilla, tesla cannon.

 

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ORISA

Real Name:  Orisa

Drive: Your safety is my primary concern

Moves:

  • Forcibly move enemies with Halt!
  • Place a protective barrier that absorbs damage
  • Resist movement and damage with Fortify
  • Place a supercharger that amplifies the attacks and damage of allies nearby.

Conditions:

  • Afraid
  • Guilty
  • Insecure

Powers: fusion driver, barrier creation

 

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REINHARDT

Real Name:  Reinhardt Wilhelm

Drive: Justice will be done

Moves:

  • Block attacks with a barrier field
  • Move quickly and crush enemies with Charge
  • Strike the ground and knock enemies down with Earthshatter

Conditions:

  • Afraid
  • Guilty
  • Insecure

Powers: Crusader armor, rocket hammer, barrier field

 

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ZARYA

Real Name:  Aleksandra Zaryanova

Drive: Together we are strong

Moves:

  • Block damage with particle barrier
  • Grow stronger by absorbing damage
  • Trap enemies in a graviton surge

Conditions:

  • Angry
  • Afraid
  • Hopeless

Powers: Strongest non-superhero woman, particle cannon

 

Ana.png

Ana

Real Name:  Ana Amari

Drive: Never stop fighting for what you believe in

Moves:

  • Put someone to sleep with a sleep dart
  • Heal damage with biotic rifle
  • Boost an ally with nanites

Conditions:

  • Guilty
  • Insecure
  • Hopeless

Powers: Biotic rifle

 

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Lucio

Real Name:  Lúcio Correia dos Santos

Drive: Come on, let’s bring it together!

Moves:

  • Speed up the movement of nearby allies
  • Amp up a crowd with music
  • Drop the beat and put a sound barrier on allies

Conditions:

  • Afraid
  • Angry
  • Guilty

Powers: Sonic amplifier, wall riding,

 

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Mercy

Real Name:  Angela Ziegler

Drive: I’ll be watching over you.

Moves:

  • Heal injuries or boost damage dealt
  • Revive an unconscious or dying ally
  • Discover a cure or administer long term aid.

Conditions:

  • Guilty
  • Afraid
  • Insecure

Powers: Valkyrie suit, Caduceus Staff

 

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Moira

Real Name:  Moira O’Deorain

Drive: science will reveal the truth

Moves:

  • Heal allies and damage enemies with biotic orbs and coalescence.
  • Reveal an unexpected side-effect of treatment
  • Fade into the shadows and teleport a short distance

Conditions:

  • Angry
  • Afraid
  • Hopeless

Powers: Genetic tampering, biotic grasp and orbs

 

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Symmetra

Real Name:  Satya Vaswani

Drive: The true enemy of humanity is disorder

Moves:

  • Teleport allies with a stationary teleporter
  • Injure and slow enemies with places turrets
  • Create a hard light object

Conditions:

  • Guilty
  • Insecure
  • Hopeless

Powers: Hard light constructs

 

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Zenyatta

Real Name:  Tekhartha Zenyatta

Drive: True self is without form

Moves:

  • Spout wisdom and enlightenment
  • Follow a creature with an orb that weakens or heals
  • Enter a transcendent stance with pulsing, healing energy

Conditions:

  • Afraid
  • Guilty
  • Insecure

Powers: Telekinetic control of orbs

Fight a Super Saiyan! The Unleashed Monk NPC

This week's entry to the NPC Gallery is the Unleashed Monk.

Ok, it's not actually a super saiyan. But it's what I thought of as soon as I saw the picture.

The unleashed monk is what I see as a fantasy version of a fighter going super saiyan. Instead of it being an ability utilized due to heritage, it's something any sufficiently trained monk can use, although with danger to their own body.

Check on the CR 18 Unleashed Monk.

Unleashed Monk.jpg

Designing an NPC

Today we're going to go through a step-by-step process for designing an NPC!

There are many ways you can go about creating an NPC. When I need to come up with a cool NPC, I head to the internet to find a cool picture to use for inspiration.

Let's use this cool picture from Daniel Kamarudin (theDURRRRIAN)

The Rhino.jpg

What are your first impressions of this person when you see this picture?

Here are some of mine

  • Physical power
  • Heavy armor
  • Iconic helmet

I think this person is a fighter. Based on his unique armor, he probably has a nickname. His helmet looks like it has a horn, so let's call him The Rhino.

 No, not that rhino

No, not that rhino

Well, if we call him the Rhino, we need to give him a charge ability, don't we? Let's add a charge.
To look at how charge works, look in the Monster Manual for monsters that already have it. Here's what we'll use.

  • Charge. If the Rhino moves at least 15 feet straight toward a target and hits with a melee attack on the same turn, the target takes an extra 18 (4d8) bludgeoning damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 18 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. Charge only applies on the first attack that hits in a turn.

Most of this was taken directly from an existing monster, all that changed was the distance required to move and the damage/DC.

What other abilities can we give The Rhino? He's got a big shield, let's use that. A number of NPCs in the Monster Manual have "Parry", let's use that. (Parry appears to add a creature's proficiency to their AC as a reaction).

The Rhino looks like an aggressive person. I want him to be able to use the shield offensively, so let's give him a Shield Bash ability. I could make it just a simple damaging ability, but I want to try something different. Let's have the shield bash just move the target if they fail on a saving throw. This won't change the Rhino's Challenge Rating (CR) at all, so we can add it without worry.

  • Shield Bash. When The Rhino hits with a melee attack, it can use a bonus action to try to push the target. The target must make a DC 18 Strength saving throw, or be pushed back 5 feet on a failure.

Let's move onto some of the more numerical aspects, the statistics.

The Rhino looks incredibly strong. The highest level a human can normally achieve on Strength is a 20, so let's use that.

He doesn't look very agile, so I wouldn't put his Dexterity high. He's a skilled fighter, so let's do just slightly above average, 12.

Constitution looks like it would be high as well, so let's make it an 18. I could see making it a 20 as well.

I see the Rhino as surprisingly insightful instead of having book smarts, so I'll give him a higher Wisdom instead of Intelligence. We don't need to make him dumb though, so I'll give him average Intelligence of 10.

Finally we come to Charisma. I mean, that's a pretty looking dude, but Charisma isn't just appearance. I'm starting to get an idea in my mind of The Rhino, seeing him as a leader. Let's give him a 14 on Charisma. It's not super high, but it's certainly above average, making him an effective leader.

Before we go any further, let's talk about where we stand with The Rhino. He's shaping up as a physically strong warrior, who also leads. To get a nickname like The Rhino, I'm thinking that he has to be a mercenary. They get cool names, right? Anyway, The Rhino is a leader of a mercenary group, we can figure out who later.

With this new information in mind, let's do saving throws quickly. We can add two saving throws without affecting the CR. A good idea is to look at the weakest stats and apply the saving throws there if you want to reduce the character's weaknesses. I want the Rhino to be an all around good fighter, so I'll amplify his weakest saves, Dexterity and Wisdom.

The Rhino's skills can come naturally from the vision we have. Athletics is obvious, due to his physique, as well as Intimidate. I see him as surprisingly insightful, so let's go with Insight. Finally, even though he's not smart, he's a tactical leader. I think he's well read with historical battles and tactics, so let's give him History as well.

Armor. Looks like he's got heavy armor, so let's call it plate. He's got a shield, so add those together for a total of AC 20.

The hardest party is figuring out hit points and attacks. For beginners, I would suggest looking at the hit die and number of attacks of a similar creature to the one you want to make. For the Rhino, I see him as a big, beefy tank. He has a large AC, so let's give him a large pool of hit points as well.

For his attacks, three is a good number for a melee fighter. He's not getting damage from anything else except his charge, so he needs multiple attacks to keep his damage up. One thing I did was increase the damage he deals with melee weapons. A maul would usually deal 2d6 damage, but I doubled it to 4d6 to make him a bigger threat.

Finally, we calculate his Offensive CR and Defensive CR, and then find the average. By doing the math, we come out at a pretty big CR 13. Playtesting is important in figuring out the real CR a monster/NPC should be, but this is a good guideline to use.

That's it! We've made an NPC. This is what our final version looks like.

 The Rhino

The Rhino

That's the very quick, very brief run-through of designing and creating an NPC. I hope this was helpful, and stay tuned for more in the future. I'm adding an NPC gallery in the Homebrew section where the Rhino and other NPCs will live.

Do you have an NPC you want to stat out? Hit me up on twitter @pirategonzalez and let me know what you have!