29 July 2020

Praise the Nilbog!

I so often talk about the adventures and escapades of my Sunday D&D group, that I neglect to really mention my Wednesday game. This isn't because of favouritism, or because they don't have some hilarious stories (one of the party has made it their mission to build a pair of exploding gauntlets, but that's a story for another time), or anything else. It's simply that I haven't been running it as long, and haven't had as many sessions with them yet! This week, however, my free adventure will be using one of my favourite monsters of all time in 5e: The Nilbog.

The Nilbog can be found in Volo's Guide to Monsters (an incredible fifth edition book, if you don't own it, treat yourself), on page 182. It is, for all intents and purposes, a Goblin. It is also going to drive your party mad. For a CR 1 monster, it has some of the most fun and ridiculous abilities, that could prove a challenge to even higher level parties. When I ran the Nilbog in my game, I used it as part of a larger goblin ambush: There were two Worg riding Goblins, 6 Goblins on foot, a Hobgoblin, a Bugbear, and the Nilbog (I don't do things by halves when I want to challenge my parties).

The combat began pretty normally, when the party had their train (mildly steampunk setting, mostly still high fantasy - alchemical engines instead of actual steam ones) was stopped and raided by a tribe of goblins known to be living in the area. The Hobgoblin lead the assault, commanding the troops to where they needed to be. All the while, the Nilbog was doing... well? Not very much. I even wasted its entire first round of initiative to describe it dancing on the spot, laughing maniacally. I made sure the party heard the description of its Fool's Scepter (a reflavoured Mace), it's oddly coloured jesters garb, and the crazed look in its eye.

The party began to quickly pick off the first wave (the riders and two of the goblins on foot) before I decided to unleash what would soon become the funniest monster I have ever used in a game. Everything was going perfectly for the party, until I uttered those fateful words: You want to shoot the Nilbog? Great! I'll need a Charisma Save. As luck would have it (for me, not the party), the save was a fail. A bad one at that (they rolled 4 or 5 I believe). When I told them about the Nilbog's trait: Nilbogism, everyone fell about laughing, having learned that the gunslinger now had to spend her entire action (for two rounds of combat!) praising the Nilbog, instead of killing it.

25 July 2020

A (Kob) Old Fashioned Haunting - Free D&D 5e Adventure

So before I get properly into the adventure, I want to make a few points about this one. This is very different from all of my other adventures, in that it is not actually dungeon crawl/fighting themed. This week's adventure is a mystery! As such, I have written it to take a certain amount of time, no matter what, and hopefully give your players a good time.


This adventure starts off with a relatively serious tone, but that is by no means how it will likely end. It is not designed to be a combat based adventure, but we all know what players can be like (indeed), so I’ve provided statblocks for the Kobold Thieves and Kobold Illusionists, should your players decide that peace isn’t an option. That said, I really like these little guys… It’d be a shame if anything happened to them.



The Build Up


To build up to running this adventure, you actually have nearly nothing to do! You can run this game as a one shot, as part of a larger campaign, or even as a great first session for a new group. If you want to build up, I would recommend the following:


When the party arrives in the town/village where you will be running this adventure, let them hear the rumour that a local homeowner is struggling to sell his house, and that he recently had the local priest over for tea, only to have a large argument with him, as the two parted ways. If you want to build further, you could always let your players see the house, describe the place as a very pleasant looking place, with a “For Sale” sign outside. If they want to look at the place, let them see something move in one of the windows, but don’t let them know what.



The “Quest”


Depending on the level of the party you are running this adventure for, you will have to present it in different ways. Below, I will include three different ways of introducing it, and how to approach the PC’s about it.

19 July 2020

Jar of Bee?

So in my last adventure, I included a "Crate Loot Table". It was a d6 table full of utterly useless things. I love to put random things into my adventures to make it seem more realistic (you search the box, in the basement? Of the Necromancer? Sure. Have a zombie). Another thing I love is the Jar of Bee. Similarly to the Undead Finger, one of my favourite pieces of "loot" (I use the term lightly) to offer to my players is a jar, containing a single bee. 

Why is it there? What is its purpose? Will it die? I only have one of the answers to those questions, and it's yes, the bee can die. I gave three players a "Jar of Bee" in session 3 of my Sunday group, and wow. One regularly messages me privately to let me know he is putting in some food (leaves, flowers, that kind of thing) for his bee. Another has named his Tim. The third? He forgot he had it. After about 10 sessions he asked me "Oh! How's my bee doing?" to which the only response I could give was; "It's dead." Poor guy... He was actually quite sad he let his bee die. I felt a little bad after that one.

Have fun with it, and see if your players actually find a use for their Bee Jars. Why not? What's the worst that could happen?

18 July 2020

Necromancers Tower - Free D&D 5e Adventure

Three weeks! I'm actually so happy that I've gotten around to my third adventure so soon. This week is a higher level adventure than my last two (aimed at players levelled 8-10), and the first to contain Lair Actions. After this, I'll be taking a break from combat themed adventures for a week or two, and put my focus to creating some mystery adventures, for players of any level to take part in, and hopefully guaranteed to bring an interesting element to your game table.


Without any further ado, here we go again!



Necromancers Tower


In this adventure, you will take your players on a dangerous journey, into the lair of a powerful necromancer, where they will face against elemental beings, undead, and even the mad wizard himself, in a desperate bid to stop him from raising a dragon from the dead into his service. This adventure is designed for a higher level party, for players levelled 8-10, and should drain them of both their strength, and a good amount of their health, in the lead up to the final confrontation. The main thing to try and do, is to keep the pressure up. Make sure the party know that, should they take a rest, they might be too late to stop whatever the necromancer has planned.

Build Up


To lead up to this adventure, begin spreading rumours in the town/city the party is currently in, about the wizard who has recently moved into the old tower on the outskirts of the city. Have a few different NPC’s talk about him, some saying that he seemed polite and well read, others that he gave off a weird aura/gave them weird ‘vibes’. 


The session before introducing the quest itself, have the rumours turn darker, and let the players know that a lot of plant and animal life surrounding the tower has begun to die. Plants are withering for a mile around, birds won’t fly above it anymore, and a lot of small rodents have been found dead.


Depending on what type of campaign you are running, and whether or not the party is known to the local authority (Duke, King, Mayor, etc.), will decide how they are approached about the job. If the party is known by them, have them brought in for a private audience with the local ruler themself. If they are new to the area/on the run, they can find the job posting in either a local guild hall, be contacted by a high ranking member of an organisation they are involved with, or find the poster on a local jobs board.

15 July 2020

Monster Spotlight - Earth Mote

Following on from my "Water Mote" post a few days back, I thought I would introduce the next Elemental Mote in the series: the Earth Mote. Similarly to its aquatic cousin, the earth mote is a new type of elemental creature for D&D 5e. Its primary method of fighting is to hide underneath the ground, only coming up to throw itself at a target to attack, and it has a pretty hefty AC for a CR 1/4 monster (plus a bunch of resistances and immunities). 

The Earth Mote will be featuring in my up-coming adventure (due for release this Saturday (18/07/2020)); The Necromancers Tower. It will, despite the inclusion of this low level monster, be an adventure for mid to high level players (levels 8-10), and will, quite obviously, be heavily focused on the undead and necromancy. In a bit to make sure the adventure wasn't 100% undead, however, I decided to use a couple of earth elemental creatures to guard the outside of the tower, and the Earth Mote was just the perfect fit...

For those who didn't see it before, I will include the introduction to Elemental Motes below, as well as a little more information about this new enemy! (This will likely be the last Elemental Mote creature I will post on here, as the rest will have to wait until I put out the final product/PDF.)

12 July 2020

Monster Spotlight - Water Mote


To begin, a little context: In my most recent adventure, "A Cave of Two Paths", I introduced the "Water Mote". It was a tiny elemental creature that resembled a floating ball of water. It attacked adventurers unlucky enough to venture into/near its pool, and it had some really fun mechanics.

When I started writing the Cave adventure, I knew I wanted some kind of water based creature for the party to fight. My first idea was to simply use something like a Water Weird, but one enemy? not much of a challenge. But two would be way overpowered for the low level of the adventure. I also considered using a Sea Hag, a school of Quippers, and a few other weird fits (none worked like I wanted them to). Eventually I realised this would be where I would have to include something new for this weeks release.

I liked the initial idea, of the Water Weird, as it would be completely invisible to the naked eye when the party entered the room, and would provide a fun challenge for them to cross the lake without "waking" it. So with two rules in mind ("invisible in water" and "will react when the party touch the water") I began work. The end result, you will see below, and it includes everything you need to run the Water Mote really well in your campaigns!

11 July 2020

"A Cave of Two Paths" - Free D&D 5e Adventure


Well here we are, week two's adventure. This time I've gone for a two pronged dungeon format, where the players can pick the route that they will face. In one pathway, they will fight against human enemies, and have to cross a potentially perilous path, whilst in the other they will come face-to... face? With a number of cave dwelling critters (including a brand new water themed elemental monster, and a statblock for newly hatched giant spiders).


This setting non-specific adventure is designed for players levelled 2-3, will definitely kill a party of level 1's, and probably be a little easy for level 4's. But as always, you can use the map for your own ends, and add whatever monsters you like (should you wish to). I hope you get the most out of this, and it fits into your games!



"A Cave of Two Paths"


Build Up


If the party is looking for work, let them see a bounty poster for the bandit leader, rumoured to be living in the cave system mentioned later, 100 gold (dead or alive), redeemable in the settlement either side of the cave pass. Should they take this job, on their way out of town/the city have them approached by a tired looking man, in ragged clothing, carrying a sick child on his back, asking them if they are heading to the caves, and if so, can they provide him safe passage?

09 July 2020

Cave Map - Coming Saturday!


A Sneak Peak
This Saturday, I'll be releasing my second 1 session adventure! This time, in a cave. There will be some fun combats, some great monsters, and a couple of fun hazards/mechanics, so I hope you all enjoy it!

08 July 2020

Monster Spotlight - Sewer Monster


The Sewer Monster
When I put together the "A Crap Job" adventure, I wanted something a little different/unique to finish it off. I'd changed the Quipper statblock to make it more "sewer friendly" (thematically speaking, at least) and spent about an hour trawling through different monsters, books and notes to see what would be a good fit for the mini-dungeon. The answer? Too many things would work! There are slimes/oozes a-plenty. Rats and their relatives are perfect. Fungi? Fuck yeah. But what to top it all off?

Why not a hulking mass of tentacles, designed purely to give the party a hard time, and cover them in raw sewage while they're at it! I enjoy running more gritty games, and like my mechanics to be believable to a certain point. You stepped in crap? Oh well, not the end of the world. Clean your boots and you'll be fine. You got covered in crap up to the knees (or worse)? People aren't going to want to talk to you till that's sorted.

07 July 2020

Monster Spotlight - Undead Finger

The Undead Finger

I won't lie, I love stupid monsters/creatures. And you don't get much more stupid than a single undead finger. It has 1 foot of movement speed, cannot attack, and cannot communicate. What is it thinking? Why is it there? What sort of f***ed up DM would give their party such a bizarre... thing?

I have an answer to the last question. Me! In every campaign I run, I make sure to include (in some weird, offshoot room the players aren't likely to explore) an undead finger. Of the two campaigns I am currently running, only one of them found it. I'm about to start running a third group (all complete beginners) and can't wait to see if they get it.

So. What does it do? Well, the only real answer I can give is "Very little". It makes the players laugh/smile when they find something as bizarre as a single severed finger that seems to be crawling about by its own accord, but it also makes them wonder what on earth it IS! It's really funny to see them try and work out what to do with/about it.

My current Sunday group (who have the finger) have been using it more than I expected.

Their main use? Interrogations. 

Yeah. Their bard (with charisma coming out of his ears) has been using it to aid in intimidation checks. He keeps it in his pocket until he needs it, in which point he takes it out, threatens an evil NPC with it, and if they don't believe him, he begins by shoving it up their noses. it, inevitably, begins to wiggle of its own accord, and tries to work its way further into the nose/head of whoever it has been placed inside.

There was also the time the bard asked about acquiring some sovereign glue... But that's a story for another time...


06 July 2020

"God Bacon" - A stupid idea that got out of hand...


The "God Bacon" Statblock

Now, this is one of those creations that I doubt anyone will ever use, or want to use, for that matter. But thought I'd share it as a funny story nonetheless.

The main campaign I run on a sunday evening, is 100% homebrew. I have a couple of homebrew races, I run a homebrew world setting, and even use my own (homebrew) pantheon. I will now stop using the word "homebrew". One of the deities in my pantheon, is Kell. Kell is the god of trickery and chaos (basically Loki from Norse mythology, with a lot of changing). One of my players asked if he could include Kell as a part of his backstory, and I loved the idea so much I granted it immediately. 

04 July 2020

"A Crap Job" - First free D&D 5e adventure


So my first adventure! How thrilling. Every week, on a Saturday, I will release a whole (single session) adventure for D&D 5e. All of my adventures will be setting non-specific, and all will contain everything you need to run a thrilling game for your group!

This first adventure is a perfect fit for any urban setting, including cities and towns, and is 100% setting non-specific. I recommend running this for players levelled 4-6, though that (as always) is up to your discretion as DM. so without any further ado, let em present to you:

 

"A Crap Job"

Build-up

If you plan on running this adventure, I recommend dropping a couple of hints in the sessions leading up to it. The first thing to do would be to let you players know that a certain area within the town/city they are in has begun to develop a bad smell. Describe how the air in the chosen area has begun to smell of raw sewage (maybe even ask for a con save or two, to avoid gagging?), and if any of them ask, let them know that it “has been brought to the attention of the [relevant authority].”

The second thing to do would be to have rumours begin to circulate that the team of sanitation workers (or whoever you want to have sent down to check it out) never returned, and that the local authority (mayor, lord, duke, king, etc.) has sent down a team of guards to see what is going on.

Just before the party are approached about the job, describe how the smell is getting worse, and that a few businesses in the area are having to shut down (maybe even pick a favourite merchant of theirs?), as no-one is wanting to enter the area of the city without dire need.

Eventually, spring the invitation to the party, either through a messenger from the local authority (if they are known to them) or through a posting on a quest board (or similar). Let them know that they will be required to investigate into the cause of the sudden stench across the city, and that they will report directly to the quest giver.