Tag Archives: Fifth Edition

Fifth Edition Proficiency Bonus..hmmm

This is a sort of followup from yesterday’s post about Rogues & Skills. While I was thinking about skills and how they are handled a few other things crept into brain. Something that was bugging me just a little bit about 5E but I didn’t put my finger on it until now.

Besides HP, there are basically four ways that characters improve. Attacks, Skills, Saves, and Casting (for the magic types). In 5E, much of this handled via the Proficiency Bonus. It gets added for Attack Rolls, Skill Checks, Saves, and influences spell casting. A single number to rule them all. I’m all for simple but maybe this one is bit too simple. Why should all of these thing progress at the same rate? This is more apparent at low levels before all the cool class tricks kick in. And yes Rogues and Bards get Expertise. And yes attribute modifiers play a big role on the final number.

But think of it this way. The modifier used to determine the character’s skill and experience is the same for all characters. So basically a second level fighter and a second level wizard have about the same training with a dagger. That really doesn’t make much sense to me.

And as I mentioned before this goes up at the same rate. So why not make each of these four categories separate proficiency bonuses. So from the previous example, a second level fighter might have a +2 Fighting Proficiency Bonus, a second level rogue might have +1, and a second level wizard might have +0. The rogue might have a +2 Skill Bonus since skills are their thing (usually). And so on.

Not trying to tear anyone or anything down. Just a random thought.


YARC-Rogues & Skills

I spent a bunch of time this last week thinking about how to do skills for my little heart breaker and a couple of things popped into my head.

First, I realized that this whole project is starting to branch into two development trees; old-school based influenced by Fifth Edition, and Fifth Edition based but influenced by old-school games. This all started to come together with last week’s Let’s Go Crazy post.

First, yes, I’m running with Rogue rather than Thief. I just feel it’s got a broader definition than Thief. Second, I’m gathering a bunch of inspiration from Lamentations of the Flame Princess’ Specialist.

Skills need to broad but not vague and need to hit a sweet spot. Most “common” actions would be done with Ability checks. Things like jumping, climbing, searching, and fast talk. Class specific knowledge might or might not need a roll, depending what’s going on. So here’s my initial skill list:

  • Healing: Treating Wounds, diagnosis, herbalism
  • Monster Lore: Creatures and stuff.
  • Profession: Specific knowledge choose something when taken.
  • Languages: Decipher script, number of languages. 0 is illiterate.
  • Stealth: Moving Quietly, Hiding, Blending Into The Crowd.
  • Survival: Tracking. Foraging
  • Thievery: Picking Pockets, Locks & Traps, Sleight of Hand

Yeah. It’s a very short list.

So how am I going to handle Skill in the 5E world? Taking a page from 5E Hardcore Mode and little from my own previous thoughts. First, there’s no set attribute modifier that modifies a skill. It all just depends on what exactly the character is attempting. For example, Can I eat this plant? Roll Survival (Int). Can I skin this animal? Roll Survival (Dex). What about unskilled? Sure you can try. For that I’m going to streamline from Hardcore Mode. Just roll a d20 at Disadvantage. No attribute modifier at all. As far as progression goes, well, just do that pretty much the normal way.

For the old-school, it’s the good old x in d6 vibe similar to Lamentations of the Flame Princess. But taking a step further. X in d6 is for average difficulty. To adjust for more difficult tasks, increase the die type. So if a task is really hard instead of X in d6, it’d be x in d12. Now for progression under this there’s an idea that’s bounced around my head for a long time. Random class based skill points. So since the Rogue is the skill monkey. They get the best die. Probably a d8 while other classes would get a d4 or d6. Points can be saved from level to level. And any skill can only be improved by one per level. However, it’s not a 1 for 1 point buy. It takes the Skill Rating to go up one. So to go from 3 to 4, it costs 3 points. Like LOTFP, most skills would start off at 1 but in a case like Languages then going from 0 to 1 would cost 4.

Of course, Rogues are going to get other class tricks like sneak attack and better chances at certain checks. Plus a few other things as they pop into my head.

And in case you’re coming into these rants, mid-way through, these are my high level thoughts on the basic design. The nuts and bolt will coming later.

Keep rolling those dice and having fun!

YARC: Let’s Go Crazy!

I’m still working classes and all the various other little bits that go into home brewing this Franken-Game. Sure it all started off as kitbashing a bunch of old school games but then I started to think about what things I liked about Fifth Edition. I blame this guy for making me think.

I had watched some of the Dungeon Craft videos now and then but recently I’ve really started to do a deep dive and binge. Hell, I’ll probably join up on the Patreon too.

Now, there’s a lot things in 5E that just don’t quite jive with the old-school vibe. I remember when 5E first came out and there was an attempt by many (including myself) to meld the two together. IMHO, a lot of those attempts really fell short. They just felt like the 5E Basic Rules with a few tweaks. Finally, I managed to find a couple that just hit the sweet spot for me when it comes to simplicity and feel.

Most folks have already heard of 5E Hardcore Mode. This little 18 page PDF packs in a lot of cool tools. Most notably for me, the very easy monster stat block,rolling to cast spells, and a more down to earth way to handle skills.

The second is Five Torches Deep. This one really puts the classes together with an idea that I was already playing with but they do it much better than I was. Here’s the quick and dirty low down. You’ve got your classic basic four classes. Then the class archetypes/specializations are the good old sublcasses. For example, Warrior has Fighter, Ranger, and Barbarian. Boom. There you go.

Of course, I’m still pulling a lot of crazy and different ideas from across the old-school spectrum. But more on that later.

Roll dice. Kill monsters. Take their stuff. And have fun!

Meeting The Girl Born Under The Serpent Star

We managed another online session this weekend. Sure Owlbear Rodeo was having some server problems but we worked around it.

So here’s a little recap. The party was hired to help one of the local nobles find his missing daughter. They soon find out that the local Temple of Set was also looking for a girl and quickly deduce that they are all looking for the same person.

After some shenanigans, the party finally gets an audience with the High Priest of the Temple of Set. Of course, he looks like this.

I couldn’t help myself. Here they learn that that temple doesn’t want to sacrifice her. They want to outright kill her. According to the High Priest, Kalia, the girl, is a gateway and will become the mortal vessel of the ancient evil serpent god Yig. The only way to stop it is to kill her. The High Priest offers to double the reward from the noble if they help. The little mercenaries agree.

They do a little more detective and find a tavern that seems to be under new management. They go in, they get suspicious, and the fight breaks out. Panicked bar patrons, brute guards, and oh yeah Serpent People. Spells and body parts go flying. The party’s henchman, Daryl, is killed in the fray. A pair of burly serpent man guards try to rush Kalia out of the tavern but the party prevails.

And things get more interesting now. The Druid was still in wolf form and quickly notices that the “girl” they are rescuing isn’t Kalia. The Serpent folk assassin drops her disguise spell, fails to stab anybody, and gets cut down quickly.

That’s when they notice one of the “dancing girls” hasn’t fled. She drops her disguise spell and it’s Kalia. Just evil green-glowing-eyes Kalia. She mutters, “You just can’t find good help. You can’t stop me, mortals.” She blasts the party with a spell, dominates the Barbarian and orders him not to let his friends leave this room, and she runs.

The chase is short. Only two characters manage to get passed the Barbarian, the Monk and the Courtier. Kalia with the use of a few spells easily looses them.

So the party got to confront the big bad of the campaign and they survived.

Complete Folio Black Label Kickstarter

I don’t often plug Kickstarters. Every time that I do folks pop out the shadows and want to plug their Kickstater. Just like reviews, I plug the one’s I like and one’s that I put my money where my mouth is back it myself. And I’ve already backed the previous Indiegogo campaigns that funded some of the original adventures so it’s time to do a little rant on those.

So what’s the Folio Black Label series? Let’s just get the point. These adventures are more adult and risque than your standard adventures. So yes. Warning. Boobies and sex. So if that freaks you out or you don’t want the children flipping through the pages then you might want to give it pass. That being said, sex is easily one of those dials that a GM and the players can set for their own group.

As I said previously, I backed the Indiegogo Campaigns for the final trilogy in the Complete Folio: Lair of the Slaver Succubus; Dagger, Venom, Throne; and Before the Necrotic Gate. I’ve already got my PDF’s of Slaver Succubus and Dagger, Venom, Throne so I’m basing much of this on those adventures.

Overall, the adventures are interesting and well written. They aren’t “Kick in the Door, Kill the Monster, Loot the Room” style of adventures but there’s still plenty of that and good old dungeon crawling. So the adventures do take some thought and may required some stealth or other tactics. Plus there’s a slew of new monsters and magic items that fun and just downright quirky. And it’s one of the few times that I’ve seen someone put a privy in a dungeon.

Another that makes these shine for me is that they are dual statted for 5E and old-school games. Yippee! And speaking of doubling up. The maps are both standard top down grid and a nifty isometric version.

You can follow along or just back the Kickstarter for the Complete Folio Black Label series over here. Heck. It’s only $10 for the PDF version. FYI, that’s six adventures!

With all that being said, Art of the Genre does have some pretty cool adventures and supplements that part of the Black Label series. I’ve personally found The Storyteller’s Arcana is filled with some very cool thoughts and resources for GMing.