Tag Archives: Fifth Edition

Bill Webb’s Deck of Dirty Tricks


I backed the Indiegogo campaign and I’m glad I did. The Indiegogo had the option for all three decks and right now I can only find what I believe is Volume 1 on the Frog God site. But as you can see, there were three decks. A generic one. One geared for dungeons. And one for wilderness.
So what exactly are these decks? Well, each card has a little bonus or perk for a character. Bonuses, do-overs, confusing an opponent and so on. If you’re familiar with the Savage Worlds Adventure Deck or the Pathfinder Plot Twist Deck then the Dirty Tricks deck is basically the same thing. And yes I have both of those.
The Savage Worlds Deck is perfect for Savage Worlds. And the Pathfinder Deck is great for Pathfinder and 3.x. So if you playing Fifth Edition, or any retroclone then well those decks don’t exactly work. Savage Worlds is a completely different game system (duh). And well Pathfinder is Pathfinder. There’s enough similarity between most retroclones and 5E that the decks will work. So they are pretty edition neutral. Oh and there’s some pretty funny quotes on them too.

Now let’s look at a couple of cards:
Jump Back Kiss Myself: Re-roll a failed Saving Throw
It’s Only A Flesh Wound: Take only half damage
I Know Something You Don’t Know..I Am Left Handed: +2 To-Hit and Damage for 3 Rounds
You’re Going To Shoot Your Eye Out: Missile attack blinds opponent for 2 Rounds.

You get the idea. And what are the rules for using these cards? There are none. It’s up to the GM to decide how they are used at the table. Maybe every player gets a card. Or they only get a card if they do something cool. Or roll a Nat 20. Do NPC get cards? That’s up to the GM too. And that’s when they become real Decks of Dirty Tricks. Personally, I’m still bouncing around ideas how exactly I want to use them. Maybe like I mentioned before. A card for every player at the beginning of a session and then an extra card if they do something cool. And I’ll probably think pull a few for NPC use. Insert evil snicker.
These cards add other layer of randomness that can happen during an adventure. While it put strain on the GM’s well thought plot, it will drive stories into completely different directions. And I think it’s good think. I kind of like when the game reaches out to both the players and GM and throws some crazy out there. You know sort of some of the craziness of Dungeon Crawl Classics.
Heck match these up with the Hireling, Encounter, and Treasure Cards, you can have a crazy session with little prep (but a whole lot of improvisation).

Episode 2 Season 4: Of Dice and Characters

Lot’s is going on this week. The biggest news is that Issue 2 of Gazebo Gazette is out to Patrons and should be coming out on Drivethru soon. What else? I start my Swords & Wizardry campaign in The Blight this week. And I’ve been having some real bad dice mojo in 5E. It’s time to roll up another character. And possibly the most boring reading of Tomes of Ancient Knowledge.
You can subscribe to the podcast on most platforms or heck. Just stream it here.

Remember. Have Fun. Roll Dice. Kill Monsters. And don’t forget to take their stuff. See how I changed that up?

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Eberron and The Blight

So I picked up Eberron: Rising from the Last War at the local game store this week. I kind of like Eberron. It was that 3rd Edition setting that color outside the lines without being totally weird. And IHMO added some neat stuff. It was fun. So yes. I grabbed up this Fifth Edition book to add to the collection and as always for just maybe some inspiration. So what if you like the stuff in Eberron but a different setting?

I started reading the book and since The Blight was on my mind any way. I started to wander that direction. I had posted previously that the gaming group is still being a little bit wishy washy on what system. So maybe it’ll be Swords & Wizardry or maybe Fifth Edition. We shall see in a couple weeks which is the next time we’ll get together. But on with this post.

So how do these settings compare? The Blight is a gritty and grim city setting with horror and just a few steampunkish and magic tech elements. While Eberron sits more in the some steampunk elements, a little film noir, and pulpish. But that’s just overall feel of these two settings. Let me go through this in a little more detail.
On the player facing side, Eberron gave us some a new races and a new class. So let’s look at these.
Warforged: OK. Living constructs, sort golem like. Well, that fits.
Shifters: A bit feral and just hinting at lycanthropy. Well that fits with the horror theme. And well Wererats are pretty common in The Blight.
Changelings: Just read through the setting. There are shapeshifters all over the place. Why not a few of these.
Kalashtar: Now this is where it gets interesting and my tendency to tweak things. They never really interested me but in The Blight, you’ve got the Between. A strange and alien dimension. Sooo. Instead of dreams or as an addition to dreams. The Kalashtar would have a special connection with the Between. Instead of normal “dream” they end up touching the Between. Or maybe they are from there. Hmmm.
Then you’ve Artificers. Yeah. It’s a steampunkish, mad scientist type class. So this too would fit right in.
The Dragonmarks. Well, heck that’s just another minor magical trick.
On the player facing side pretty much everything fits into place. Then on to the monsters. First, there’s the Quori from a plane of dreams. For my take on the Blight, I want the Between to be even more alien than it’s depicted in the book. The Quori are perfect candidates for this. Then there’s the overlords. Well, Castorhage could always deal with a few more gods and liches. Then there’s the Living Spells and a few more of the Ebrron beasties that fit right in.
So it really doesn’t matter if I run Swords & Wizardry or 5E. I can convert back and forth pretty easily with this. And for the lesson I want to share here. It’s OK to cross pollinate settings. See? So if you’re 5E only type, then hey you take the Blight and really turn things on their heads. If you’re an old-schooler. Hey, there’s still some inspiration that you can get from the “new” stuff.

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Swords & Wizardry and 5E??

Yes, please. Swords & Wizardry is my favorite retro-clone and some have even called the old-school Rosetta Stone since it’s so easy to bring things from other games. Guess what? It cross pollinates with 5E too. But the why listen to me? Let’s get the insider track on this.

But wait there’s more.

For The Blight, I’ll probably be mixing the rules a lot. More than I originally planned after some discussion after the last game. And you know I just might do more it in the future. It may even turn into some crazy project here on the blog. Let’s face it Swords & Wizardry is a streamlined system with its single Saving Throw and Ascending AC, it gives you a solid foundation to work in stuff from other systems whether it’s extra races, skills, feats, classes or whatever. Bonus, you still have all that old school material to use. There’s no way you could just add a bunch of that stuff without a little tweaking but it won’t totally break the game or cause any weird cascading effect. So maybe this is a way to show that those old-school games still are good games. So yeah. It’s an idea that bouncing around inside my head.
And if you’re still with me. Go ahead and subscribe to Frog God’s Youtube Channel. If they hit 1,000 subscribers there’s going to be a giveaway. And doesn’t want a chance at some gaming swag. (And just to be clear. I don’t have any financial interest in this. I just like their stuff.)
So there you have it. A thought. A plug. And now one more plug.

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Wererats for Swords & Wizardry and 5E

Well, I’m still prepping to run The Blight and we were having a little table talk before the Labyrinth Lord game started last week. One player mentioned that he does miss 5E abit. So next time, we’ll have to nail things down. I’m expecting to start this after the holidays so with the speed I write stuff, Ill need the time. Another was excited that the setting isn’t so normal and asked if he could play something weird. So I asked, “Like what?” He replied, “I don’t maybe like some sort of were creature.” Hey, wererats are pretty key to the setting so I thought, “Why the hell not?” So here you go.

Swords & Wizardry Version
See in the Dark
+1 Save Vs Disease
Half damage from non-magical or non-silvered weapons. But double damage from silver weapons.
Bite (1d3) (Save Vs Disease to avoid Lycanthropy)
Cast Animal Summoning I (Rats only) Once per day
+1 Stealth (That’s with YARC Skill System).
Shapechange (Human/humanoid rat)
Suggested Classes: Fighter, Thief, or Fighter/Thief

Fifth Edition Version
Ability Score Increases: +2 DEX, +1 CON
Size: Medium
Speed: 30 Feet
Darkvision: 60 Ft
Damage Resistance: Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing From Nonmagical Attacks Not Made With Silvered Weapons.
Vulnerabilities: Damage from Silver Weapons
Shapechanger. The wererat can use its action to polymorph into a rat-humanoid hybrid or into a giant rat, or back into its true form, which is humanoid. Its statistics, other than its size, are the same in each form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying isn’t transformed. It reverts to its true form if it dies. Bite in Rat or Hybrid form does 1d4 damage. (f the target is a humanoid, it must succeed on a DC 11 Constitution saving throw or be cursed with wererat lycanthropy)
Keen Smell. The wererat has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.

I based these, of course, on the monster stat blocks with some tweaking to make them a little more balanced. Of course, I may change this up later on, but this if the first version of this idea. And I’ll keep you all update on what the players decided. Swords & Wizardry or 5E. We shall see.

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Making 5E More Dangerous

When I was doing my initial brainstorming about running The Blight, I did a lot of thinking about how to make 5E more deadly and grimmer. But my players decided that they wanted to do Swords & Wizardry so I’m cool with that. But I still had these ideas. so I figured what the heck share them.
I wanted to do something that fit within the existing rules and didn’t screw around too much with everything else. For lack of better terms, I came up with two ideas. Let’s call them strategic and tactical.
For strategic, I’m thinking long term effects of game play over the campaign and this one is pretty simple. Slow down character progression. Keep the characters at lower levels longer. I’m thinking about twice as long. This keeps those low-level threats still threats even longer. And the higher level ones be even more dangerous. Simple.
Then for the tactical side. This for something that actually effects the characters as they are adventuring. I didn’t want to mess with long and short rests. Heck. Let those stay the way they are. There’s a lot of class abilities that are tied to those and I didn’t want to mess with all that. I didn’t want to nerf the healing abilities because there are so damned many. So I started thinking and flipping through the Players Handbook for ideas. Then it struck me. Exhaustion. And here’s what I come up with.
For each failed Death Save, the character takes one level of Exhaustion.
Sure a character can get all their HP back but they ain’t going to feeling that great. This becomes really dangerous when you break it down and the following isn’t stuff I’m making up. It’s right there in the PHB. At 6 levels of Exhaustion, the character dies. For levels 1 to 5, the character has more and more penalties as their combat capabilities are reduced. A Long Rest recovers one level of Exhaustion. A Cleric can “heal” one level of Exhaustion with Greater Restoration (A fifth level spell).
And that’s it.

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More Thoughts on The Blight

Yes, I know I didn’t get any blog posts done last week and I was hardly around on social media. Things were busy but I wasn’t idle on the gaming front. I almost have Back Alleys done for Dark Streets and Darker Secrets, I did some more brainstorming on YARC, and the whole reason for this post more mulling on The Blight.
Right now, I mostly messing around with the gods and Gods of Castorhage and thinking of how to make the various game systems. So I figured what the heck, throw out to masses and see what happens. Of all the games I have at my disposal I’ve narrowed it down to these (in no particular order).
1. Swords & Wizardry: It’s easy to do NPC’s. It’s flexible. It’s readily available in PDF form and the players can buy the book if they want. And there’s already a ready made version of it by Frog God Games.
2. Fifth Edition: It’s the elephant in the room. The players are already familiar with it and they already have their own books. It’d be a little tougher to run improved NPC’s off the cuff. The PC’s do have a lot more umph than in the other systems so make it a little grittier will take some house ruling.
3. Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar: Why? Well, DCC is cool and I should have my physical copies from the Kickstarter soon. The players are already familiar with it. The Blight is a city-based campaign so in my mind’s eye, it would make a good fit using the DCC: Lankhmar rules. Yes, I know no clerics and I would have house rule the partrons. So more prep type work on the DM’s part. I’m also aware of how crazy the magic can get. The players are already familiar with DCC and some have the books already.
4. Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Well, you can go weird and gritty without thinking about LOTFP. The players should be able to pick it up quickly. The art-free version is still available. It won’t take much to convert the Swords & Wizardry version over to LOTFP.
5. Something else? Oh. There’s plenty of other games out there. But the above are really my main choices.
So here’s a poll. Leave a comment. Let me know what you think.