09 May 2021

The Gunner - A New Roguish Archetype

 Sorry for the delay in posting this all, it wasn't quite finished yesterday! Over the last month, not only has work been absolutely mental, but I have also found myself starting a new campaign. In the last few weeks, I have created a brand new world setting, a couple of new sub-races, and couple of new subclasses as well.

This new campaign is heavily piratical, and as such, I wanted to create some more fifth edition content to fit the theme. The first of these is my new "Gunner" subclass for rogues. Arguably the most famous type of "rogue" there is, I felt that there was a surprising lack of options for playing a piratical character. As it stood, the "Swashbuckler" was the only one that even remotely fit the bill, and it wasn't perfect for all types of pirate characters.

As I'm sure many of you will notice, this archetype is based around some of the ideas in the Gunslinger subclass, created by Matthew Mercer for Critical Role. The firearms mechanics were pretty much spot-on, and I felt that no matter what I did, introducing a second set of rules for them would simply detract from the overall synergy of the archetype, as well as confuse players.

Instead of re-creating the class one-for-one, however, I tried my best to give The Gunner subclass a more "Roguey" feel. Incorporating the rogues sneak attack, as well as their quick reflexes, I hope that this subclass has a distinct feel, and fits into most campaigns. If there is one thing I hate about a lot of homebrew, it's that they are often completely broken and overpowered when compared to official content. Whilst putting this together, I spent hours researching official rogue archetypes, as well as studying the gunslinger class in depth, to create something that should be balanced for any game.

Sorry for the short post this week, but I will be back with nautical maps, encounters, more content in this vein, and lots more, in the next few weeks! Until then, thanks for reading!

17 April 2021

Unplanned Hiatus

 Hi all, sorry for the radio silence for the last couple of weeks! It's bee a little manic here recently, as my hours have nearly tripled at work (due to pubs and bars getting ready for, and subsequently reopening, here in the UK). The rush is slowly dying back a little, and by the beginning of May, we'll be back to posting weekly content here on the blog. In order to keep quality high, however, we did not want to rush any of our posts, so have opted to hold back on releasing any content until the 8th of May (the first just wasn't soon enough for us to get anything ready by).

When we return, we will be back with new adventures, new formats, more impressive maps than ever before, and hopefully a few interesting surprises to boot! So until then, we thank you for reading our work as always, and can't wait to be back with all new ideas for your games!

03 April 2021

Desert Path Battlemap + 8 Encounters (6 New Creatures)

This week, we decided to revisit the desert setting, and make another sandy battlemap. Instead of focussing on manmade structures or an oasis, however, we wanted to keep the attention firmly on the sandy dunes themselves. As usual, we have included eight unique encounters, using a mix of both brand new, and pre-existing monsters, and hope you will find something interesting or fun for your games!

The main features of this map are the two raised cliff faces, and the worn path through the desert. The cliff faces should represent areas that the party either cannot reach, or have to work hard to get to (DC 14+ strength (athletics) check to climb, maybe taking 1+ rounds to do so). The path should represent the only safe way through the map. Leaving the path would be a mistake for the party, as the sand becomes softer/deeper where travellers avoid walking. Any area over 5 ft. away from the path (the slightly darker area on the map) would count as difficult terrain, reducing a creature's speed by half.

The Map:

The Map

27 March 2021

Smugglers Cave - Level 3-5 Adventure

We love to create adventures that are completely different sometimes, and subvert expectations. Sometimes, however it’s great fun to revisit a classic plot and play into the stereotypical adventure. This month's free adventure is just that, a classic plot, given the Osrynn’s treatment. There are hundreds of Smugglers Cave type adventures available, but a lot of them are quite boring, and very samey. In this re-work of a classic, we want to provide a really fun adventure, that makes the old theme feel fresh again.

To this end, we have focussed on creating memorable new creatures for your players to encounter, a couple of devious traps for them to get caught in, and a fun dungeon layout with a good mix of underwater and land based areas.

The Quest

The party are hired through their usual quest-giver (be that a local authority, an adventurers guild, a note on a jobs board, or simply a rumour from a friendly NPC) to help clear out a band of smugglers who have recently begun operating in the area. The party are charged with clearing out the caves in which the Smugglers have begun to operate from, and have been asked to attempt to bring the leader in alive, to face justice.

The job posting/quest giver will inform the party as to the location of the main cave entrance, along the coastline. If the party enquire further, they will learn that there is a second entrance, which is located offshore, and can only be accessed by boat. If the party want to enter this way, they will need to find someone to either lend or sell them a boat. None of the local fishermen or sailors will be willing to enter the caves, due to the danger of the Smugglers, but one will be willing to allow them to borrow his rowboat if they can pass a DC 14 charisma (persuasion) or charisma (intimidation) check.

Another piece of information you may give to your players, should you decide it to be pertinent, is that the smugglers are known for setting up traps within their base, and that the party should be careful. If, however, you’re more like me, let it be a nice little surprise for them instead!

The Area

This adventure is, for obvious reasons, best set in a coastal town or village. The population will be mostly fishermen, sailors and merchants, and will not be an overly wealthy area. If you want to run this adventure for a group based in a less coastal area, you could easily have the quest involve travelling to the area. Maybe even throw in a random encounter or two along the way? If you’re looking for maps for the journey, I definitely suggest both my Modular Plains map pack, and my Plains and Cliffs map pack.

The Map:

20 March 2021

Ruined Graveyard Battlemap - With 8 Themed Encounters

After a few darker encounters in our last battlemap post, we decided that it was high time for a properly dark battlemap installment. This week, that takes the form of a ruined graveyard, along with the ruins of some kind of building (most likely a church). What led to the place being deserted? Did the cliffs begin to erode, growing too close to the building? Was there some kind of disaster, wherein the building burned/crumbled, killing many, becoming a tomb of its own? Did the dead begin to grow restless, and take their grievances out on those that buried them? So many unanswered questions... .

The possibilities for storytelling and encounter design are endless with this map, and we really had a lot of fun making it/writing them this week. Each encounter is, as always, themed to the locale, and I’m sure you can guess where a lot of them are headed thematically.

The Map

Besides the gravestones, the ruined remains of the building, and the cliff face, the map this week is actually very basic. There are no special features like lava pools or icy lakes. Just a few short walls, some natural cover from trees and the gravestones, and a short cliff face leading into the ocean (or whatever body of water you wish to make it).

The Map

19 March 2021

Bonus Map! River Bridge Battlemap

 This week, I needed a quick map for a random encounter in my Wednesday game. The party had just arrived at a bridge over a river, and were about to cross. I thought it was high time for another 'random' combat encounter (100% planned encounter), but didn't give myself long to make the map. Instead, I took my recent Craggy Ravine Battlemap, and quickly edited it to have water instead of a black ravine! In case that is the kind of thing anyone here might use, then I thought I would post it anyway!

The Map

If anyone is after the encounter I ran, then it was very simple; 2 Water Weirds (MM - p299), and 4 Water Motes (statblock here). The motes floated above the bridge, to attack the party that were hiding from the Weirds, and the weirds grabbed anything that got too close, and then proceeded to drown/continue to constrict them.

It caused the first player character death in that campaign. I would 100% run it again! Maybe this time for a party one level higher... They were only level 5, to be fair!

13 March 2021

Art Resource Week: Mini-Dungeon Maps

This month, we have designed 8 unique dungeon maps, ready for you, as a DM, to populate with any adventure you can imagine! Each map has been designed in an old school, classical style, and has been left intentionally unfurnished, so that you can use them wherever you want. All of the adventures that I create, I make a map for. These are usually specific to their adventures, and designed to be quite detailed to fit with the overall theme. Whilst this is usually great, we asked ourselves what people would find helpful for drop-and-play in any situation. our answer? A set of miniature dungeon designs, built to easily fit any adventure!

When I began DMing, I would often find maps online, and use them as inspiration for my adventures. This worked out well enough, but it meant that I was left with pre-furnished maps that didn't actually fit my narrative well. I eventually started using simple black and while outlines of maps to represent my intentions, but felt they were visually lacking. The perfect middle ground? Pre-made dungeon maps, just lacking any detail!

We hope that the maps in this pack will help you not only in providing a backdrop for your adventures, but also maybe inspire interesting ideas with their layouts! The 8 unique maps are each 25x25 squares on a grid, though they are also available without grids so you can re-size them as needed. Each of the eight maps are available in three styles; classic stone, sandy, and blue, and each in available both with and without grid.

06 March 2021

Craggy Ravine Bridge Battlemap

 After a lot of extreme environments last month; icy tundras, arid deserts and even scorching volcanos, we decided it was time to get back to more temperate climates. Our first battlemap of March features a stone bridge, crossing over a deep ravine. How deep does it go? What could have caused such a scar in the earth? What dark creatures lurk in the dark below? All good questions, and all shall remain unanswered by us. Make it work for your world, and your setting.

We had a lot of fun creating this map, as we love the idea of a chasm stretching down further than the eye can see. The power that a void can invoke is something else entirely, with the absolute feelings of wonder, and terror, that it can instill in someone. Just the thought of crossing this bridge filled us with so many ideas for stories, about how and why it was created, what it leads to, and much more. In these encounters, we hope you will see at least a few of these ideas play out. 

The Map

The Map

04 March 2021

Monster Spotlight - Torch Slime

  The Torch slime closely resembles a slug in its outward appearance, save for the near constant flame that it produces from its back. I remember encountering them for the first time the same day that I also first observed the Ferrumolsk.

  One could easily mistake the Torch Slimes as being related to the Ferrumolsk, assuming them to simply be a shell-less version of the creature, however nothing could be further from the truth. The Ferrumolsk are snail-like elemental creatures, who live peacefully in the caverns beneath volcanic areas, whilst the Torch Slimes are vicious oozes, that will happily attack any creature they see, to feed.

  The Torch Slimes are opportunistic creatures, and will regularly hang from the ceilings of volcanic caverns, only to drop down onto the heads of creatures passing through. The biggest threat, however, is not their fire, nor their powerful slams, but rather their slime trails. Wherever these creatures go, they seem to excrete a trail of molten hot slime, which lingers in the area, and can cause serious harm to living tissue. It is also, as I was unfortunate enough to find out firsthand, very slick.

02 March 2021

Monster Spotlight - Ferrumolsk

 It was on my journeys through the chambers beneath an active volcano that I first encountered the Ferrumolsk. These creatures of fire, which greatly resembled giant snails, seemed at home in the scorching caverns. Though in a hurry to move to areas with more bearable temperatures, I couldn't help but watch these fascinating creatures for a while, to try an learn a little more about them.

After a few hours of observation, I found the heat to be becoming unbearable, so left for the day, already drawing up plans to return more prepared on the morrow. It took some convincing, but I finally had a sorcerer friend of mine whip me up some fire resistant clothing, as well as a few potions for the journey, and like that I made my way back the their den. I set up a small campsite inside the cavern with them, finding them to be mostly harmless (unless provoked). After watching for a few more hours, I noticed there were a few spots within the cavern that the creatures seemed to congregate. Taking it upon myself to investigate, I waited until later, after they had moved on to a different area, and then began to look.

It didn't take long for me to work it out, however, as the signs were quite obvious; the creatures were congregating to eat the iron ore deposits in the cavern floor! It seems these creatures have found a way to, not only consume and digest this metal, but also to extract it's properties and infuse them into their shells! The shells of these creatures were as solid as fine plate armour, and offer the creatures much protection against predators, though what would consider these creatures prey I hope not to find out...

27 February 2021

Volcano Adventure - Super Hot Dungeon Adventure (for Level 4-6 Adventurers)

After making the Lava Rivers Battlemap a few weeks back, I realised how fun volcanic scenes were to create, as well as how many ideas I started to develop after posting (that I seriously regret not being able to include in the post). This adventure is my way of incorporating a whole bunch of these ideas and monsters, whilst also sharing a brand new adventure for this month! 

When designing dungeons/adventures, there are a number of different styles that I’ve really wanted to work on, but find difficult with the sheer variety of playstyles available in 5e. You will notice that the majority of the adventures on the blog follow a linear path (begin in one place, follow a path, fight enemies, reach the end of the dungeon). This is the easiest type of dungeon to create for 5e, as it limits the players options for creative thinking, and leads to an adventure that can easily be run for any group.

The next type of dungeon design is multi-path dungeons; adventures where the party has to make a decision once (or multiple times), taking them down a different path. These usually lead to the same destination, and simply provide the players with a choice of the perils they will face on their journey (see my Cave of Two Paths adventure). These, again, are relatively simple to drop into any group, as the overall outcome of the adventure is the same, and the party simply have to make a few extra choices.

Finally, there are Central Room dungeons. These are the adventures where the party keeps on returning to a single room, for multiple different reasons. This can either because the paths they take away from the room lead them to trigger something that unlocks the next path, or because they find another way in, to allow themselves to progress down an otherwise inaccessible path. These can be difficult to integrate into 5e, as the characters can have such varied abilities, some of which may completely negate certain obstacles. A locked door is child's play to a rogue, or a caster with Knock prepared. A collapsed/missing bridge is great for stopping melee characters, but casters with Fly or Levitate can treat it as absolutely nothing. Because of these issues, creating a dungeon/adventure that relies on a central room mechanic is tough.

The Temple of the Elements was a simple example of how this can be integrated, through the four separate paths leading to the opening of a final doorway leading into the boss chamber, and hopefully, you will see this style represented in full for this new adventure.

24 February 2021

Monster Spotlight - Qualliuk

  In the deepest parts of the ice covered lands of the north, tales are told of the Qualliuk; evil fey spirits that inhabit frozen bodies of water, and lure children to their deaths. One could easily mistake the tales as simple warnings for young children; "don't play on the frozen lake, or the Qualliuk will pull you under". Even the description of the knocking sound they produce could be easily attributed to the sound of ice cracking. Were it not for my own experience with them, I would simply think it a clever tale told to keep children safely away from danger.

  As I ventured into the woods, I came to a large lake, frozen solid in the sub-zero temperatures. As I passed, I found myself distracted by a faint sound coming from below the surface. It sounded like a faint tapping, or a knocking perhaps, coming from the far side of the lake. As I looked up to see if I could figure out the source of the sound, that I noticed a young child, she couldn't have been more than 8 years old, walking towards the ice, with a blank expression on her face.

  I nearly continued on, thinking it nothing to worry about, but couldn't shake off the worry that something could be wrong. My fears were quickly realised, of course, when seconds later a scaled arm, ending in sharp claws, burst from beneath the ice, swiftly pulling the young child under. She barely had a chance to scream before she was gone from my sight. Obviously, not wanting to let her perish, I ran to the spot I last saw her in, across the ice itself, and dived in after.

  The water was so cold it nearly knocked the air straight from my lungs, but I pressed on, swimming down, following the faint sight of her blond hair as it sank deeper. Finally, I saw it with my own eyes, a horrible creature covered in pale white scales, with dark black hair framing its inhuman face. It stared at me with eyes as black as the void, and it bared its teeth, each pointed like a wild beasts, as I tried to wrestle the girls unconscious body from its grip. After receiving a number of scratches along my arms, I was able to free her from its claws, and I quickly swam us both to the surface...

22 February 2021

Monster Spotlight - Ijat'Ria

I have decided to try a new approach to the Monster Spotlight posts on this blog, opting for a more story-telling approach, with first-hand accounts of the creatures. To test this new format, here is my introduction to the Fey creature from my latest battlemap post, the Ijat'Ria.

  In my years of travelling across the world, there are few creatures that I have encountered that have stuck with me quite like the Ijat'Ria. My encounter with these creatures does not stick with me for what I remember, however, but for what I don't. It seems that these creatures have some kind of amnestic effect on those unfortunate enough to encounter them, and the information I share with you now is only in part from my own experience, and mostly comes from the local folklore from the frigid lands these creatures inhabit.

  The Ijat'Ria appear to be some form of shape-changer. Able to shift their form to one of many indigenous species. Local legends tell of their glowing red eyes; the only way that a traveller can tell one of these creatures apart from the animals they imitate. The local elders warned me, during my stay in their village, of these creatures. Telling me stories of travellers lured from the roads and paths, into the woods to be never seen again. I did not, of course, believe the stories at first, but listened intently as they may have proved good inspiration for a story I could tell in the future. 

20 February 2021

Ice River Crossing Battlemap + 8 Encounters

From the fiery insides of a volcano for my last battlemap, to the icy tundra this time. Now, I know it wasn’t all that long ago that I released another snowy themed battlemap, but the recent weather has had me wanting to design something like this again. The arctic theme has so much potential in DnD, and I definitely feel like I didn’t maximise on it in the last snowy map.

This week, I am focussing more on unique/brand new monsters again, instead of arctic variants of existing creatures, or simply re-using statblocks from the basic rules. I wanted to create something a little more fun this time around, to maximise on the environment. In total, I have included six brand new monsters, each built to fit the environment.

The Map Itself

The Map

The map is relatively simple this time around, with a simple dirt road/path crossing a bridge in the middle of a frozen forest/river scene. There are, however, a number of fun mechanics you could play around with using the environment alone in this map. For starters, any creature (medium or larger) attempting to cross the ice itself, must make a dexterity (acrobatics) check, DC 14, to see if they can do so safely (and at the start of any turns they spend on the ice) to see if the ice beneath them cracks. If it does, the creature takes a number of d4 of cold damage (scaled to the party level).

13 February 2021

Art Resource Week: 15 free maps for random encounters/ambushes

Is it that time already? Week two of the month is Art Resource week, and this month we have a great selection of pre-made maps for you to use in your games! 15 maps, available both with and without grids, in a number of different styles, so you can simply pop them into your VTT (or print them for actual tabletops), and they're ready to go. Eight of the maps are on a 25x25 grid square, and the other seven are 32x24, and each one has been made to fit a wide variety of settings.

Some of the maps are 100% suited to ambush encounters, whilst others are great for randomly rolled battles wherever the party are. Whichever you need, this pack has it. You can download the pack (for free) here.

10 February 2021

Monster Spotlight: Elemental Guardian

 "Standing in the centre of the room, you see a 10 ft. tall stone statue. Each of its four arms seems to bear the symbol of one of the base elements; Air, Earth, Water and Fire. The Stone arm, covered in rough hewn rocks, is raised as if to strike downwards at a smaller creature. The Water and Fire arms are each outstretched, each bearing an arcane rune on their palms for their respective elements, seemingly carved into the stone itself. Finally, the arm bearing the symbol for Air hangs towards its side, a bladeless handle for a scimitar gripped in its massive stone palm.

As you begin to approach the figure, you see dust begin to fall from its body. as it slowly begins to move. Each arm flexes in turn, the symbols on them beginning to glow faintly, as its eyes snap open, solid black gems, as dark as the void itself, and it's attention turns to you. Flames crackling, water gushing, earth shaking, and the blade of air whistling through the scimitar, it begins to approach."

The Elemental Guardian is the final encounter of my recent Temple of the Elements adventure, and is undoubtedly one of my favourite elements of the dungeon (pun very much intended). The initial idea for the Temple adventure was to actually run it as a much lower level adventure, with Motes and Mephits as the main enemies in each path, and a final fight against a combined type of elemental creature as a final battle. The adventure actually went through about 4 'final' bosses, before we actually decided to finalise the Guardian.

Another idea we played with was a sorcerer as the final battle, fighting using a combination of magic and Motes, with the paths only being made up of a puzzle and an elemental, without any motes until the final chamber.

Suffice to say, we are very happy with our final product.

06 February 2021

Desert Ruins Battlemap + Encounters (+4 New Monster Statblocks)

 Desert Ruins Battlemap

This week's free resource is another Battlemap + Encounter selection! This week, with a desert theme. I’ve had this map made since before october 2020, and just never put together the encounter list for it. It was partly due to the fact that I couldn’t think of enough encounters that I wanted to include, and otherwise down to the fact that I started something else, and totally forgot about this one… You will notice (hopefully) that this one includes a good number of new/unique monsters; I was feeling creative this week, and wanted to give something to you all for reading my work!

The Map

The map this time is another 25x25 square creation. Unlike a good number of my encounters (mostly being woodland/plains settings), this one is set in the middle of a desert area, at the site of an old/abandoned settlement built on the edge of an oasis. Hopefully, even if you don’t choose to use any of my suggested encounters, the setting of this map might spark some interesting ideas for you to use in your games!

The Map - An Oasis in the Middle of a Desert

30 January 2021

Temple of the Elements - Free adventure for parties of level 7-9

I've been wanting to make this adventure for months. It's taken a while to build this adventure for a few reasons; firstly, I tried making maps multiple time, and hated them all. Secondly, I kept changing my mind on how I wanted the puzzles to function, this is the final version only, though I may post a number of the other ideas I had in a future post. The final reason is that I didn't know how I wanted to end it; the final fight against the Elemental Guardian is a recent idea I had, and I am really happy with the whole flow of the adventure.

This is also the first adventure I have ever released that uses the Air Mote creatures, and is also the first one to include all four of the Elemental Motes. They really are one of my favourite creatures, and I really hope they add something to your adventures too!

Build Up

Does your party need to find a special magical item? Are you looking for something a little different to the normal adventure? Do your players simply like dungeon delving for treasure? Do you want an adventure you can run in nearly any campaign setting, as well as in a one shot scenario? If you answered “Yes!” to any of the above, then this adventure is for you!

Four unique elemental enemies, five incredible combat encounters, four new puzzles, complete with solutions, skill checks, and handouts, and a brand new boss fight against a powerful construct, wielding the power of the elements. 

If you want to fit this into an existing game, you can place it anywhere. The beauty of mad sorcerers building puzzle dungeons to protect their treasure, is that they’re mad! They can build that dungeon just about anywhere that takes their fancy. Underneath a city? Sure! In the middle of a haunted forest? Perfect. On the coast? Lovely view, why not? You get the picture. Easy to fit into any setting.

The only thing you will need to do to allude to this dungeon is let the players hear rumours of an abandoned temple somewhere nearby (or far away, if you want to make them travel), that contains incredible magic items, and equally incredible magic defences. All previous adventurers that have attempted to loot the place have either died trying, or limped away with their tails between their legs (sometimes literally, that poor tiefling).

The Dungeon

As they approach it, the party can begin to make out some details on the outside of the building. The structure, ancient, yet immaculate, stands towering above them. On the walls, there are images, each representing one of the four base elements; Fire, Water, Air and Earth. Despite the fact that it stands so proudly, and with its doors wide open, it does not look like many people come by here, not even in search of treasure any more.

From outside, they can’t make out much beyond the doors, but the interior seems well lit, and welcoming. The flickering light against the doors seems to suggest a fire inside, though surely that can’t be right? This place has been abandoned for years, right? 

The Map

28 January 2021

New Schedule

 For a while I've just posted whatever I seem to be feeling on any given week. That's about to change! After looking at how long it takes to create certain resources for this blog, and what I enjoy making the most, I have decided to start working to a regular schedule.

From now on, every Saturday there will be a new post. Unless there are extenuating circumstances (which I will attempt to explain in the event they happen), I hope to keep to this plan.

On the first and third Saturdays of the month, I will post a Battlemap, along with a number of encounters you can run on it. Each of these will be completely new and unique from my other works, and each on will come with at least one brand new creature, and one or more terrain action. Some of these maps will be easier to fit into certain campaigns than others, but every one should be able to inspire ideas (whether those are running my monsters in a different setting, or running your own adventure/encounter on my map).

On the second Saturday of the month, I will post an art based resource. These will nearly always be a map pack of some variety. Some months these will be a modular map pack you can use to build your own dungeons/encounters, and sometimes they will be packs of pre-made maps - either for dungeons or encounters, that you can use for whatever purposes you want in your games.

The Fourth Saturday of the month will be the day I release a new complete adventure. These will be full dungeons with unique enemies and features, planned encounters, and even plot hooks you can use to incorporate them into your games. They should all work perfectly fine as part of a larger campaign, as well as on their own as standalone one-shots. 

Occasionally a month will have five Saturdays in it. On these rare occasions, it will be my usual; whatever takes my fancy that week! I could release a second full adventure, I might create another map pack or art asset, I may have another Battlemap along with encounters, or I may have something completely different! It's really anyone's guess where those months will go.

I will still occasionally post funny stories at random, and will continue to provide other assets for DMs to use in their games throughout, including more Terrain Action posts, monster spotlights, and more. So don't worry about these elements of the blog disappearing, I just wanted to get a little more organised.

This new schedule will begin in February, and this Saturday, I will be releasing my latest adventure; Temple of the Elements. It is a full dungeon you can easily slot into most campaign settings, and complete with puzzles, combat encounters, and a unique boss fight, complete with lair actions! I'm really happy with this one, and I really hope you all enjoy running it as much as me!

23 January 2021

Lava Rivers Battlemap + Encounters

Not a full adventure, but it’s certainly something! This week we have another battlemap, in a volcanic location. This could really be anywhere, from the centre of an active volcano, to an evil villain's lair, to even the elemental plane of fire. Included with the map, I have also included 8 encounters you could easily run here, for parties of different levels (from 1 through to 12). I won’t lie that I’ve been inspired
into a lava themed map since the last session I actually got to play in, and we had one ourselves.

Lava, Stone, and Bridges - This weeks map
The Map

The map itself consists of two different levels, as well as rivers and pools made out of lava. Obviously, if a character falls into the lava, that is bad. Very bad. I would probably have it deal 10d10 fire damage, setting them on fire (2d6 fire damage at the end of the creatures turn, and costing an action to put out), and count as difficult terrain. Essentially killing most lower level characters, and seriously hurting higher level ones. The higher levels of the map are high enough above the lava that the party won’t take any environmental damage, but the lower levels are hot. If a creature starts its turn on one of the lower levels, they must succeed a constitution saving throw (set this depending on the party level - be reasonable), taking 2d6 fire damage on a fail, and half as much on a success. 

21 January 2021

Modular Plains Pack - 30 More Tiles for Map Making

Here it is! Map Pack number three. This time, focussing on the great outdoors. Plains, Rivers and Woods, whatever you need, you can find it here! Included in this pack, you will find 30 unique tiles for building maps for any simple outdoors encounter.

A sample map (20x20), made using 4 tiles - Including a cave entrance
One of the most common settings for encounters and combats is on the road. As well as that, most campaigns tend to be set in temperate areas. Taking both of these pieces of information into account, it is safe to assume that most campaigns will include at least one or two encounters in the wilds. Whether or not that is on the road, in the woods or along a riverside, most parties will encounter enemies somewhere fitting this description.

If you are looking for any inspiration when it comes to building a plains based encounter, consider using some of the Terrain Actions mentioned in my post from a few months back. As well as the terrain actions from that post, any of the encounters mentioned in my Waterfall Battlemap post from October.

18 January 2021

Modular Sewers - 53 Modular Map Tiles for Map Making

Unusual for a resource post to go up on any day other than a Saturday, but here we are. In a bid to release both of my first two map packs before this weekend (as I have an adventure built using both of the two of them coming on Saturday), I have opted for a weekday release!

This Map Pack is a sewers style tile set. As with my Caves pack, each tile is 10x10 squares (though the un-gridded version can be warped to any dimensions you should need), and can be fitted together in hundreds of different ways.

A sample map, made using 9 tiles from the map pack
When I first started this blog, and began releasing DnD adventures, the very first adventure I posted was also set in the sewers. I find sewers are a brilliant urban dungeon setting for so many different campaigns, as they can be made to fit into almost any large town or city, as well as being a widely sprawling maze underneath the characters feet at any given time. There is some kind of inherent mystery to the sewage systems in fantasy, and some incredible adventures can happen in them.

If you are looking for any inspiration in building a sewage adventure in your games, then this pack is a great place to start! Whether you build a map first, and let the ideas come from the layout, or you write the story, and then build the map to fit it, I can guarantee that these tiles will help you build an incredible adventure for your players.

16 January 2021

Modular Cave Map - 30 10x10 Tiles

It's been a while, but here we are again! Osrynn's back (after my third unannounced hiatus) with yet another new idea for the blog. After October (and my Halloween Adventure), the UK went into yet another lockdown. Whilst this should be the best time to create more content for my blog, my productivity and enthusiasm went down the drain (as well as my mental health). I always tell players in my games: "Your mental health is more important than anything!", and always encourage them to be open about problems. I would rather re-schedule ten weeks in a row than have a player (and friend) suffering because they feel pressured into playing a game their heart isn't in. So I took my own advice, and took some time away!

A sample map - made using the pack

This time, however, I am back with yet another new idea; Map Packs! In this weeks offering, you can get 30 pre-made map tiles for use in online tabletop software's (such as Roll20), for building cave maps for your games. Each tile is designed to be 10x10 squares (though I have included both gridded and non-gridded versions - in case you would prefer to use a different scale), and can be fitted together with one another in any orientation (as long as you fit the openings together). The full tile-set is available for free on my store (pay-what-you-want - including nothing) on Ko-Fi.

04 January 2021

The Bargain Bucket: A fun magic shop idea for markets

Now, I know it's a controversial topic to include, but I love to have Magic Shops in my games. In the homebrew worlds I run my games in, magic is commonplace; not only are sorcerers and wizards well known and widespread, but magic items are bought and sold as commodities in every major town and city. Obviously, you can't just start selling every item imaginable, as that would be game-breaking and ridiculous, as would selling the party items that are clearly above their level.

One of the things I like to include is the option to buy fun magic items. The kind of item that could easily have a use, but might require a very specific situation, or maybe just a creative player. One of the first ways I incorporated this into my magic shops was with the "Apprentice Shelves". The Apprentice Shelves were a shelf or two inside most of my (larger) magic shops, which the shopkeep would stock with items bought from, or created by, students at the local magic school/college. These items would invariably be a selection of "Common" magic items from books such as Xanathar's Guide to Everything (p136-140).

These items would always get a good laugh from my players, and a few actually got bought (though usually as joke items that anything else). More recently, however, I wanted to try and incorporate some other way of getting some gag items into my games. My players love to visit markets, and they had just arrived in a city that (historically) had made a name for itself as a hub for trade and commerce in my world. It was the perfect chance to really go to town (as it were).

Eventually, after a few different ideas, I settled on a lucky dip style of shop, at which the party could pay their gold (50 gold pieces), and get something different for their adventures. Obviously, it couldn't all be absolute crap, but I wanted there to be a larger chance of a laugh than something actually helpful. To achieve this goal, I typed up two tables: the Item table, and the Effects table.