Cartography Software for Fantasy Writers

Cartography Software for Fantasy Writers

Fantasy writers love maps. D&D loves maps. Ergo…

The Life & Times of Miguel Olmedo Morell

Ortelius.jpg

This is not a sponsored post.

Happy Saturday, my lovely bookaholics! As you know, earlier this month I started writing a novel for NaNoWriMo, which means I have to write a novel at least 50.000 words long before the month ends. And, as I mentioned in my latest post, I don’t want to do a half-hearted job: a tremendous artist, Hellyon White, is designing the cover and the character’s portraits, and I have started drawing a map for the story.

And this is what I want to tell you about right now: the map.How is a writer with no drawing skills whatsoever undertaking so big a project?

Well, let me tell you how I’m doing it.

Let me tell you about Ortelius.

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6 Ways to DIY D&D 5e Alignments

6 Ways to DIY D&D 5e Alignments

Alignment Title

Alignment Chart 1

I‘ve been thinking a lot about alignment recently.

Ever since D&D’s introduction everyone I knew never agreed on what the various alignments mean. In broad contextual strokes, yes, but get down the the nuanced details and everything becomes unsure.

What if D&D alignment depended on how DMs rename alignments?

It’s strange. All D&D “rules” are guidelines are “made to be broken”, and we’re okay with that. But we have an obsession with the alignment mechanic, wanting to the understand it completely, easily, unanimously as if it were an Orc’s stat block. Forty years rumination and debate on alignment, it’s time we took alignment into our own hands, break it, and mould it into our own.

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Understanding Sneak Attack

Understanding Sneak Attack

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©Wizards of the Coast

A rogue’s sneak attack ability is very powerful and can easily turn the tide in a fight. As a DM, I thought I understood it well until a player brought up some interesting scenarios that caused me to take a closer look at this skill. Here is what I found.

Basic Sneak Attack Rule:

  • Sneak Attack can be used once per turn when he/she has advantage on the attack or there is an enemy of the target within 5′ of the rogue (PHB page 96).

After analyzing the rule, here are some additional thoughts that should clear up some confusion:

  1. “When” is not specified. So sneak attack can be used as an action, bonus action or reaction.
  2. The rules say once per turn so if a rogue has a dagger in each hand and misses with his action but hits with his bonus action, he could use his sneak attack on the second bonus action hit.
  3. Once per turn does not mean once per round (a round is when all involved in the initiative order has had their turn). So if you use sneak attack during your turn but later in the round have an opportunity attack, you could potentially use sneak attack again as a reaction (See post by Jeremy Crawford, lead rules developer for Dungeons and Dragons).

 

War Darts

War Darts

This is a dart:

1280px-Plastic-Dart

It is bright blue, but it doesn’t really add much color to a D&D game. I mean, the idea of using something like this dart in a heroic defense against invading orcs seems patently ridiculous.

No, I’m all about aesthetics in-game. To me, an item shouldn’t look like a reject from your home play room if it wants to be in a heroic fantasy RPG. Yet the inventors and perpetuators of D&D have included the thing in every version of the game. There must be more to the weapon than this. They must know something I don’t. So—no surprise to anyone by now—I did some research. Read more

Lessons in 2 Classes

Lessons in 2 Classes

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©Wizards of the Coast

Sorcerer and Monk

DM-ing a group of strangers in D&D 5e is new for me. A longtime DM of an old version and other games, the spirit of the job is deeply ingrained, but the ruleset? Still pretty new. Fortunately, being a Dungeon Master is the best way to learn, and I value my little game a lot. It helps to have nice players, too.

I learned something about Sorcerer and Monk classes last week and I wanted to share them with those considering these classes for the first time.

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Here, More Trinkets

Here, More Trinkets

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Let’s face it. The dozens and dozens of trinkets in the D&D Player’s Handbook (p.160) are barely enough. A paltry number, really, which shows how little regard WoTC has for this all-important piece of equipment. (don’t you think?)

That’s why I took it upon myself to collect and create 201 more! Two lists of 100 trinkets, plus a bonus trinket. (For the collected ones, I’ve been hoarding them from around the web for a while now, and have long forgotten where I found them. So, no source info.) Read more

DM-ing At Meltdown. (Part II)

DM-ing At Meltdown. (Part II)

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Character Development Assistance

More Q&A for my beginner’s one-shot at Meltdown Comics this Thursday, October 12, 7-10pm.

Q: I don’t have time to create a character!

A: Ah, yes. To us it’s half the fun, but to others it is a necessary “evil”. Here, if you must, are pre-generated characters. Be sure you know their stats and personality traits.

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