Posts Tagged ‘EN5ider’

I’m going to write a post that is self-indulgent. I guess that’s true about every post on this blog in one way or another, but this blog post is going to be a story in which I am the central character, which is a little unusual for this site. Usually it’s some crazy monster, magic item, piece of advice, or game mechanic that takes center stage. If you hadn’t guessed from the title, this post will tell you how I became a somewhat, kinda, sorta, maybe, known creator in the world of tabletop roleplaying games.

I’m writing this post because several people have asked me how I “made it” in the industry. To be honest, I’m not sure I have “made it” at least by the modern definition. I’ve got a full-time gig outside the industry as a TV commercial writer/producer (which I really love). That being said, I do get paid to work on some pretty great projects in the industry and I am doing more in this space than I dared to dream, so in some ways I guess I have “made it” in this industry. At least made it further than I expected.

Still I thought sharing my story might be helpful for anyone out there interested in a freelance RPG design career, but I will say that my path is unique and involves a lot of luck, so I’m not sure it can be replicated. I was inspired to share thanks in part to the requests I got, but also by a recent episode of the Down with D&D podcast in which designers and podcasters Shawn Merwin and Chris Sniezak shared their own stories. Definitely check out the episode because they have great stories and a lot of amazing advice.

The Tome Show

In Fall of 2013 I was listening to a lot of podcasts and playing tons of D&D with my friends on Roll20. The D&D Next playtest was in full swing and I devoured every piece of D&D news I could find. One of my favorite programs was the News Desk on The Tome Show, but it only came out once a month. I searched for other D&D news podcasts, but most were actual plays, none with D&D news. I remember telling my then-girlfriend, now-wife, Bonnie, that I wanted to listen to a weekly show that covered the latest D&D news in-depth. I told her there was no show out there like it (that I knew of) and Bonnie said, “Why don’t you make it?”

What did I have to lose by giving it a shot? I already knew how to edit audio… but I didn’t know how to book guests, build an audience, or even submit a podcast feed to iTunes. At the time I was listening to backlogs of the now-defunct D&D advice podcast Critical Hits hosted by Mike Shea of Sly Flourish. At the end of each podcast he gave our his contact information, including email, and encouraged folks with questions to reach out. I emailed Mike, thanking him for his awesome contributions to the community and asked for advice on starting a podcast. I soon realized how gracious he truly was. The man gave me 600 words of free advice and told me if I wanted more I should contact Jeff Greiner, the creator and owner of the aforementioned Tome Show podcast.

Already a subscriber to Jeff’s show, I eagerly went to him for advice next. Jeff asked me to pitch him my idea and without even knowing it was coming he offered me a chance to do my show on the Tome Show’s feed, immediately hitting a large audience of subscribers! I admit, this is some pure, amazing luck. Thus my first public RPG-related creation was born: The Round Table podcast. Special thanks to Rudy Basso, Alex Basso, Greg Blair, and Vegas Lancaster for making those first several episodes with me and encouraging me to keep making the show in those first weeks. Extra special thanks to Sam Dillon for actually getting all those episodes on the air. After several months of consistent output, Jeff told me (after I asked a few times) that he trusted me enough to revive the Gamer to Gamer franchise on the network and I started interviewing professionals in the industry. (Shoutout to my first interviewee on that show, Wolfgang Baur!)

Takeaways:

  • Listen to your partner.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to people for advice.
  • Be gracious and grateful. People remember how you treat them. Also everyone deserves to be treated like a human.
  • Seize opportunities when luck offers them.
  • Be consistent with you work and don’t be afraid to ask for more after you’ve proven yourself.

The Blog

I was three episodes into The Round Table and seeing thousands of people listening to the show when I decided I should probably use the podcast as a platform to promote something I always wanted to do, but had been too lazy to start – a blog about homebrew design. I had a lot of time on my hands, since Bonnie was on a two-week business trip, so rather than play video games every night (which was my normal MO when she was gone before the blog and podcast), I used the time to create this site. I made a commitment to write two articles a week. To keep myself accountable, I started shouting the site out on the podcast, knowing that I would need to keep it stocked with content if people were going to show up.

The blog’s audience growth was slow, but steady. I started with less than 10 views a day, but as I kept updating it consistently and shouting out new posts to various social media groups and message boards, the views crept up. Now on days when I don’t post something new, I get about 500 hits in a day, but it took me three years to get here.

Takeaways:

  • Sometimes you need to put video games and Netflix aside to work on rewarding, fun, creative projects.
  • The best way to build and audience is put out consistent, well-crafted content that you enjoy making.
  • Hold yourself accountable for getting your own projects done. No one else will.

The Work

So how did I finally get paid for some game design? Well my first jobs came from EN5ider and Johnn Four‘s Roleplaying Tips and they came about quite differently.

I had a year of blogging and podcasting under my belt when I saw EN5ider was just starting up. I saw a post on EN World calling for article submissions, so I figured I’d give it a shot. I had been rejected before by Dungeon and Dragon magazines and by the Adventurers League, but I didn’t let that discourage me. Editor James Haeck accepted of my pitch! Give Chase was born… after careful outlining, planning, proof-reading and revising, and revising again once I got notes from James. I made sure to hit each deadline and to listen to the editor’s feedback, incorporating it into the article, rather than rejecting what was said. James and I worked well together and I’ve written a few more articles for EN5ider since then.

Roleplaying Tips came about in a much different way. World Builder Blog was a regular contributor to the monthly RPG Blog Carnival and through that Johnn noticed my work, he reached out to me and asked if I would write an article for his newsletter that gave worldbuilding lessons. I’d be paid for the work and I could repost it here on the blog. That’s a great deal, so of course I said yes. Johnn and I have worked together on a few projects since, including a massive adventure that should be coming soon!

It was about another year before I got to do work for more people. In that time the DMs Guild launched. I already had a heaping helping of fifth edition content on this blog, so I put some of that into PDFs (without having ever done layout). The reputation I had built for myself on the blog and podcast helped get my products some buzz and a few became best-sellers. That’s when things really started to pick up.

The Adventurers League asked me to write an adventure for them and Shawn Merwin asked me to write another for Baldman Games. Roll20’s owners (who I met after applying for their game master job, which I did not get but did give me a chance to make connections with these very cool people) asked me to create their introductory fifth edition adventure, The Master’s Vault. Since then I’ve worked on a few other projects, but those are going to stay secret for now. Many of them are people I have met at conventions.

You know the rest of the tale. I’ve continued to create and since left the Tome Show to create my own podcast network with Rudy Basso. What’s in store for the future? Only time shall tell!

Takeaways:

  • Keep submitting to open calls. Rejection happens! That’s ok. Don’t take it personally and keep pitching.
  • Be an active part of the community.
  • Write, revise, proofread, and hit your deadlines. People will want to work with you again.
  • Create, create, create for yourself before someone asks you to do it for them. You’ll learn your craft and build a library of content to show off or even sell.
  • Go to conventions. Meet your heroes, ask them for advice. This industry is smaller than you think and people are super approachable and awesome.

Luck and Hard Work

I clearly owe a lot of people many thanks. I could not have made it to even where I am today without them. My timing worked out and I was very lucky, but I also created some of my own luck by working hard. Hopefully this story helps some of you out there!

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Hey everyone! I just released another new product on the DMs Guild. Greater & Elder Elementals is now available as a pay what you want product! This product features Huge-sized greater (CR 8) and Gargantuan-sized elder (CR 12) elementals for your game. These larger higher level elementals existed in older editions of the game. I took it upon myself to convert them for fifth edition D&D. It was very easy to do, but if you want to save yourself some time, go ahead and download the PDF for free. You can grab my other pay what you want products while you’re there – 15 New Backgrounds, Catastrophic Dragons, and Archons. Do me a favor. Please check them out and rate them! Honestly good feedback is worth more than some cashola at the moment, so please download them for free if you like and let me know what you think!

Greater&ElderElementals_Introcaso_20160201_Cover

This free PDF on the DMs Guild is also an excuse to talk about my latest article in EN5ider!

My third published Epic Threats article, “Epic Threats: Elementals,” is currently available through EN World EN5ider. Morrus, EN World King, and his team are awesome and have been putting out great fifth edition content and they have a whole catalogue of stuff still to come. I definitely recommend you check out the work over there. My other articles, “Give Chase,” “Get Sick,” “Epic Threats: NPCs,” and “Epic Threats: Goblinoids and Orcs,” are available over there as well and ready to make chases in your game awesome. This latest article has a new and improved Wizards of the Coast style monster stat block!

I’ve been running a fifth edition game for almost a year and it’s clear to me that there aren’t enough high challenge rating monsters to provide me with the variety of combat encounters I like to have at my disposal. Yes, bounded accuracy lets me use the old standbys far after the PCs’ level is much higher than the bugbear’s CR. I just need to keep adding bugbears… but combat with a lot of baddies is slow and can become a grind. That’s not the kind of variety I’m looking for.

That’s why I submitted a series of monster articles to EN World EN5ideran online magazine which publishes content for the fifth edition of the world’s most popular tabletop roleplaying game. The first of those articles, “Epic Threats: High Level NPCs,” presents five new NPCs with challenge ratings of 11 and above to add to your game. The second, “Epic Threats: Goblinoids and Orcs,” provides five more baddies to bring into your high level games! These are (obviously) of the more goblin and orc variety. The latest and last article, “Epic Threats: Elementals,” gives you some awesome high level elementals (the Steam, Storm, Smoke, Sand, Mud, and Magma varieties).

I have to say, if you’re playing fifth edition and craving more content, EN5ider is a great place to get it. I’m not just saying that because I’ve now written for them five times. You get one short adventure a month plus another three articles with advice on running chases, new diseasesnew druid circles, creating puzzles, and so much more. You get all that for $2 a month. If you don’t want the adventure, you can still score the articles for $1 a month. That’s less than a bottle of water in most places. The articles are of a great quality and EN World creator, Russ Morrissey, writes several of the best. You can grab some sample articles and an adventure for free so check it out.

I also have to give a super special shoutout to EN5ider editor, James J. Haeck. He’s brilliant, creative, and a blast to work with. Every letter that man touches becomes better for it and this series of articles would be a lot worse without his hard work.

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Just a quick post here to let you all know that my third published Epic Threats article, “Epic Threats: Elementals,” is currently available through EN World EN5ider. Morrus, EN World King, and his team are awesome and have been putting out great fifth edition content and they have a whole catalogue of stuff still to come. I definitely recommend you check out the work over there. My other articles, “Give Chase,” “Get Sick,” “Epic Threats: NPCs,” and “Epic Threats: Goblinoids and Orcs,” are available over there as well and ready to make chases in your game awesome. This latest article has a new and improved Wizards of the Coast style monster stat block!

I’ve been running a fifth edition game for almost a year and it’s clear to me that there aren’t enough high challenge rating monsters to provide me with the variety of combat encounters I like to have at my disposal. Yes, bounded accuracy lets me use the old standbys far after the PCs’ level is much higher than the bugbear’s CR. I just need to keep adding bugbears… but combat with a lot of baddies is slow and can become a grind. That’s not the kind of variety I’m looking for.

That’s why I submitted a series of monster articles to EN World EN5ideran online magazine which publishes content for the fifth edition of the world’s most popular tabletop roleplaying game. The first of those articles, “Epic Threats: High Level NPCs,” presents five new NPCs with challenge ratings of 11 and above to add to your game. The second, “Epic Threats: Goblinoids and Orcs,” provides five more baddies to bring into your high level games! These are (obviously) of the more goblin and orc variety. The latest and last article, “Epic Threats: Elementals,” gives you some awesome high level elementals (the Steam, Storm, Smoke, Sand, Mud, and Magma varieties).

On Tuesday I’ll be posting a companion piece to go with the article on this blog so stay tuned!

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

I am a lucky man! My series, “Epic Threats,” just had its second installment published in EN World’s EN5ider Magazine. “Epic Threats” is a series which fills out bestiary ranks with more high challenge rating fifth edition monsters. I’ve found in the upper echelons of the game that there aren’t enough threats to give my PCs the variety of challenges and creature I like, so I made a few of my own, submitted them to EN5ider and they’re being published! You can read my first installment in the series, “Epic Threats: NPCs,” and the second installment, “Epic Threats: Goblinoids and Orcs,” by subscribing to EN5ider for as little as $1 a month through Patreon.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 5.58.23 PM

I have to say, if you’re playing fifth edition and craving more content, EN5ider is a great place to get it. I’m not just saying that because I’ve now written for them three times. You get one short adventure a month plus another three articles with advice on running chases, new diseasesnew druid circles, creating puzzles, and so much more. You get all that for $2 a month. If you don’t want the adventure, you can still score the articles for $1 a month. That’s less than a bottle of water in most places. The articles are of a great quality and EN World creator, Russ Morrissey, writes several of the best. You can grab some sample articles and an adventure for free so check it out.

I also have to give a super special shoutout to EN5ider editor, James J. Haeck. He’s brilliant, creative, and a blast to work with. Every letter that man touches becomes better for it and this series of articles would be a lot worse without his hard work.

Whenever I have an article come out in EN5ider I like to write a companion blog post to help promote the article. You can checkout the companion piece I wrote for “Epic Threats: NPCs,” “Get Sick,” and, “Give Chase.” Now it’s time to present a companion piece for, “Epic Threats: Goblinoids and Orcs.” The article gives you five new monsters to throw at your PCs, CR 14 – 20. I’m going to show you a CR 12 orc I wrote that I didn’t submit with the article so I could tease you here on the blog.

Orc Punisher

Orc punishers are burning with divine fires inside of them which are fueled by pain. Every piece of steel, arrow, and spell they suffer grows their savage fury until they erupt with radiant energy which sears their hated foes.

Orc Punisher

Medium humanoid (orc), chaotic evil

Armor Class 15 (studded leather)

Hit Points 190 (20d8 + 100)

Speed 30 ft.

STR

DEX

CON

INT

WIS

CHA

22 (+6)

16 (+3)

20 (+5)

10 (+0)

12 (+1)

8 (-1)

Saving Throws Strength +10, Con +9, Wis +5

Damage Resistance radiant

Skills Athletics +10, Intimidation +3

Senses passive Perception 11

Languages Common, Orc

Challenge 12 (8,400 XP)

Aggressive. As a bonus action, the orc can move up to its speed toward a hostile creature that it can see.

Charging Advantage. If the orc moves at least 10 feet it has advantage on all attack rolls made before the end of its turn.

Eye for an EyeWhenever the orc takes damage, it gains a number of punishing points equal to the damage taken. These points are cumulative and the orc can have a maximum of 50 punishing points. These points disappear when the orc takes a short rest.

When the orc hits a target with a melee attack, it can choose to spend any number of punishing points. The number of points the orc spends equal the number of bonus radiant damage points dealt by the attack.

Actions

Multiattack. The orc makes four attacks.

Greataxe. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (1d12 + 6) slashing damage.

Javelin. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d6 + 6) piercing damage.

Blinding Burst. The orc spends 20 punishing points and releases a burst of radiant energy in a 20-foot-radius sphere centered on itself. Hostile creatures within the sphere must succeed on a DC 17 Constitution saving throw or take 15 points of radiant damage and become blinded until the end of the orc’s next turn. Allies in the sphere heal 5 hit points.

Fey Step. The orc spends 5 punishing points to cast fey step.

PDF

Would you like this monster in a PDF along with all the other fifth edition D&D baddies I’ve designed? Grab them below.

Orc Punisher

All Monsters

If you don’t want to grab them now, but decide you want the PDFs at a future date, head on over to the Free Game Resources section of this site where the documents will live along with magic items, backgroundsD&D fifth edition rules modulesspellsadventures, and more created by yours truly.

Of course as a bonus this bad boy is elligible to be another submission to this month’s RPG Blog Carnival, which I am hosting here on World Builder Blog. The theme is “Homebrew Holiday Gifts,” and I’m asking bloggers everywhere to share their RPG creations for their favorite systems with me. At the end of the month I’ll make a list linking all participating blog posts so everyone can checkout the fine homebrew creations in one place.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Just a quick post here to let you all know that my second published article, “Epic Threats: Goblinoids and Orcs,” is currently available through EN World EN5ider. Morrus, EN World King, and his team are awesome and have been putting out great fifth edition content and they have a whole catalogue of stuff still to come. I definitely recommend you check out the work over there. My other articles, “Give Chase,” “Get Sick,” and “Epic Threats: NPCs” are available over there as well and ready to make chases in your game awesome.

I’ve been running a fifth edition game for almost a year and it’s clear to me that there aren’t enough high challenge rating monsters to provide me with the variety of combat encounters I like to have at my disposal. Yes, bounded accuracy lets me use the old standbys far after the PCs’ level is much higher than the bugbear’s CR. I just need to keep adding bugbears… but combat with a lot of baddies is slow and can become a grind. That’s not the kind of variety I’m looking for.

That’s why I submitted a series of monster articles to EN World EN5ideran online magazine which publishes content for the fifth edition of the world’s most popular tabletop roleplaying game. The first of those articles, “Epic Threats: High Level NPCs,” presents five new NPCs with challenge ratings of 12 and above to add to your game. “Epic Threats: Goblinoids and Orcs” provides five more baddies to bring into your high level games! These are (obviously) of the more goblin and orc variety.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 5.58.23 PM

Tomorrow I’ll be posting a companion piece to go with the article on this blog so stay tuned!

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my other podcasts, Bonus Action and Gamer to Gamer, tell your friends, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

I’ve been running a fifth edition game for almost a year and it’s clear to me that there aren’t enough high challenge rating monsters to provide me with the variety of combat encounters I like to have at my disposal. Yes, bounded accuracy lets me use the old standbys far after the PCs’ level is much higher than the bugbear’s CR. I just need to keep adding bugbears… but combat with a lot of baddies is slow and can become a grind. That’s not the kind of variety I’m looking for.

That’s why I submitted a series of monster articles to EN World EN5ideran online magazine which publishes content for the fifth edition of the world’s most popular tabletop roleplaying game. The first of those articles, “Epic Threats: High Level NPCs,” presents five new NPCs with challenge ratings of 12 and above to add to your game. If all goes well, there might be another article or two presenting some more of these high level threats to add to your game.

I have to say, if you’re playing fifth edition and craving more content, EN5ider is a great place to get it. I’m not just saying that because I’ve now written for them three times. You get one short adventure a month plus another three articles with advice on running chases, new diseasesnew druid circles, creating puzzles, and so much more. You get all that for $2 a month. If you don’t want the adventure, you can still score the articles for $1 a month. That’s less than a bottle of water in most places. The articles are of a great quality and EN World creator, Russ Morrissey, writes several of the best articles. You can grab some sample articles and an adventure for free so check it out.

I also have to give a special shoutout to EN5ider editor, James J. Haeck. He’s brilliant, creative, and a blast to work with. Every letter that man touches becomes better for it and this series of articles would be a lot worse without his input.

I think you should definitely checkout my latest article and all EN5ider has to offer. In fact I’m going to give you a little preview right now. Below is the Master of Nature, an NPC that was cut from the article for space. If you like this NPC, you’ll definitely enjoy the rest of the ones the article has to offer.

Master of Nature

Medium humanoid (any race), any alignment

Armor Class 15 (studded leather, 16 with barkskin)

Hit Points 237 (25d8 + 125)

Speed 30 ft.

STR

DEX

CON

INT

WIS

CHA

12 (+1)

16 (+3)

20 (+5)

14 (+2)

20 (+5)

12 (+1)

Saving Throws Dex +9, Con +11, Wis +11

Damage Resistances acid, cold, fire, lightning, and thunder

Skills Nature +8, Perception +11

Senses passive Perception 21

Languages Druidic plus any three languages

Challenge 18 (20,000 XP)

Elemental Strike. When the master of nature makes a successful weapon attack it can deal an extra 1d12 damage to the target. The damage type is chosen by the master of nature from the following list: acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder. The master of nature can still use this ability when polymorphed by its Exceptional Polymorph trait.

Exceptional Polymorph. The master of nature can use its action to cast the polymorph spell on itself. While polymorphed in this way, the master of nature retains its Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores the master of nature can still use its Spellcasting trait.

Magic WeaponsThe master of nature’s weapon attacks are magical, even when polymorphed by its Exceptional Polymorph trait.

Spellcasting. The master of nature is a 20th-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 19, +11 to hit with spell attacks). The master of nature has the following druid spells prepared:

Cantrips (at-will): druidcraft, poison spray, produce flame, thorn whip

1st level (4 slots): cure wounds, entangle, speak with animals, thunderwave

2nd level (3 slots): animal messenger, barkskin, flaming sphere

3rd level (3 slots): call lightning, conjure animals, meld into stone, sleet storm

4th level (3 slots): blight, dominate beast, stoneskin, wall of fire

5th level (3 slots): contagion, greater restoration, mass cure wounds, wall of stone

6th level (2 slots): conjure fey, sunbeam

7th level (2 slots): fire storm, regenerate

8th level (1 slot): earthquake

9th level (1 slot): storm of vengeance

Actions

Multiattack. The master of nature makes two attacks.

Scimitar. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 3) slashing damage plus 7 (1d12) acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder damage (see Elemental Strike).

Sling. Ranged Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d4 + 3) bludgeoning damage plus 7 (1d12) acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder damage (see Elemental Strike).

PDF

Would you like this NPC in a PDF along with all the other fifth edition D&D baddies I’ve designed? Grab them below.

Master of Nature

All Monsters

If you don’t want to grab them now, but decide you want the PDFs at a future date, head on over to the Free Game Resources section of this site where the documents will live along with magic items, backgroundsD&D fifth edition rules modulesspellsadventures, and more created by yours truly.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

I’ve had a very crazy, but wonderful week. My 30th birthday was on Friday last week and all weekend I got to celebrate with amazing friends and family. All this week I was fortunate to be busy with work for the one-man video production company I run. I scored a freelance RPG writing job I’ve been working on (more details to come as publications are… well, published). Oh and I’m moving to another state on Saturday. Needless to say, this week was busy.

As much as I’d like to have a big robust update for you, I’m afraid it’s not so huge this time. I do have a nice swamp chase complication table for you below. As many of you know I’m fond of chase sequences at the table. The fifth edition Dungeon Master’s Guide has introduced some great chase mechanics for DMs to use in their Dungeons and Dragons games. I’ve had an article published about running chase sequences in EN World EN5ider Magazine which you can read if you pledge a single dollar a month to the Patreon campaign (though I recommend you contribute another buck or two to get their sweet adventures and more). On this very blog I’ve posted the sewers and treetop city chase complication tables.

All that’s to say here’s what I got for you today. Enjoy!

Swamp Chase Complications

d20 Complication
1 You run into waist-deep water. Make a DC 10 Strength (Athletics) check. On a failure the water counts as 15 feet of difficult terrain.
2 A mud pit is before you. You can attempt to clear it with a DC 15 Strength (Athletics) check or spend 10 feet of movement to go around the pit. On a failure you sink into the deep mud and it counts as 15 feet of difficult terrain.
3 You disturb a nest of stirges. 2d4 stirges chase after you.
4 You must run across a twisted tree to cross a small chasm. Make a DC 15 Dexterity (Acrobatics). On a failure you fall 1d4 times 5 feet, land prone, and take fall damage as normal.
5 An assassin vine tries to grab you around the neck. Make a DC 15 Dexterity. On a failure the vine grabs you and you take 2d6 points of bludgeoning damage. You are grappled by the vine until you succeed on a DC 10 Strength (Athletics) check which you make as an action or the vine holding you is dealt 10 points of damage (AC 12).
6 You run into a lizardfolk. Make a DC 15 Charisma (Intimidation) check. On a failure the lizardfolk chases after you.
7 You run across a puddle of stagnant water and splash some into your mouth. You must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw. On a failure you become poisoned for 1 minute.
8 You run through a nest of biting insects. The insects make an attack roll against you and get a +5 bonus to the roll. On a hit they deal 1d12 piercing damage to you.
9 You run onto soft earth. If you do not use your action to dash this round, make a DC 15 Athletics check. On a failure you sink into the mud and cannot move until you spend 20 feet of movement to climb out.
10 A pit of snakes blocks your path. You can spend 10 feet of movement to go around the pit or make a DC 15 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check to swing from a vine. On a failure you fall into the pit and take 1d8 piercing damage and 1d8 damage. It costs 15 feet of movement to get out of the pit.
11 – 20 No complication.

PDFs

Would you like this chase complication table in a PDF by itself or along with all the other fifth edition D&D chase complications I’ve designed for this blog? Grab one below.

Swamp Chase Complications Table

Chase Complication Tables

If you don’t want to grab them now, but decide you want the PDFs at a future date, head on over to the Free Game Resources section of this site where the documents will live along with monstersmagic items, backgroundsD&D fifth edition rules modulesspellsadventures, and more created by yours truly.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!


In this special Round Table James Introcaso sits down with James Haeck the editor of EN World EN5ider Magazine to talk about this great online publication which creates content for fifth edition. Then it’s an interview with author, editor, and designer Susan J. Morris to discuss her latest D&D for kids adventure Monster Slayers: Champions of the Elements. This podcast was recorded in June 2015.

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Hey everyone! I’m taking a quick break from the Prisons for Dragons series to give you a timely article about diseases which is a companion piece for an article I wrote which was just published by the amazing team over at EN World EN5ider.

I know you’ve been thinking, “James, what about diseases? The fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master’s Guide has only three sample diseases for my game and almost no information about how to craft my own. Will you please help me?” Of course, my friend. Of course.

“Get Sick!” Published

Recently I was fortunate enough to have another article published in EN World EN5ideran online magazine which publishes content for the fifth edition of the world’s most popular tabletop roleplaying game. Included in my article is a lot of advice from me about creating your own diseases and six more sample diseases to add to your game (bottle fever, demonic plague, itching insides, ooze decay, touch of aberrations, and walking rot). This post is a companion piece of my article, “Get Sick.” If you like the rest of this post, go check out the article on EN5ider.

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I have to say, if you’re playing fifth edition and craving more content, EN5ider is a great place to get it. I’m not just saying that because I’ve now written for them twice. You get one short adventure a month plus another three articles with advice on running chases, new druid circles, creating puzzles, and so much more. You get all that for $2 a month. If you don’t want the adventure, you can still score the articles for $1 a month. That’s less than a bottle of water in most places. The articles are of a great quality and EN World creator, Russ Morrissey, writes several of the best articles. You can grab some sample articles and an adventure for free so check it out.

Okay, plug over. Onto some more sample diseases!

Updating the Illnesses

Last year I wrote a post about The Underdark in Exploration Age. Amongst the many hazards Canus’s underground caverns have to offer, one of the most dangerous is diseases. The diseases I created were based on the rules presented in the final D&D Next Playtest packet. Now that we have all the core rule books for fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons, it’s time to update these little infectious wonders and add to what’s already in the Dungeon Master’s Guide.

New Diseases

The diseases below are meant to be used in The Underdark of an Exploration Age game, but can be added to any Dungeons and Dragons game at the DM’s discretion.

Mushroom Mind

The mushrooms of The Underdark are mostly harmless, but there are those that should be avoided. None more so than the green-spotted murder mushrooms. Humanoids breathing in the spores this fungi risk having them attach to their brains. From there the mushrooms grow within a victim’s skull, slowly reducing mental and physical faculties.

If a humanoid creature breathes in the spores it must succeed on a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or contract mushroom mind. In 1d4 days the first symptoms appear. An infected creature begins to bald and green spots start appearing on their scalp similar to those on the murder mushrooms. Roll 1d6 on the Mushroom Mind Ability Score Damage table to see how much of which ability score is reduced for the creature. The ability score damage cannot be recovered in any way until the creature recovers from the disease.

At the end of each extended rest roll another 1d6 to determine more ability score loss. If one of the infected creature’s ability scores is reduced to 0, the creature dies.

Mushroom mind can be cured with the rare, purple-spotted relba mushroom which grows only on the graves of illithids. A character with proficiency in an herbalism kit who has the kit and 3 ounces of relba mushrooms can spend 1 hour to create one dose of a special elixir. An infected creature who drinks the elixir has the disease is cured at the end of its next long rest. Its ability score damage remains, but can be healed with a restoration spell once the disease is cured.

Mushroom Mind Ability Score Damage
d6 Effect
1 Reduce infected creature’s Strength score by 1d4.
2 Reduce infected creature’s Dexterity score by 1d4.
3 Reduce infected creature’s Constitution score by 1d4.
4 Reduce infected creature’s Intelligence score by 1d4.
5 Reduce infected creature’s Wisdom score by 1d4.
6 Reduce infected creature’s Charisma score by 1d4.
Slug Snot

When adventurers sleep in the open Underdark at night, they would be wise to plug their noses. Brown slugs called drunkbugs are known to crawl into sleeping victims’ noses and travel down their throats into their stomachs. These slugs attach themselves to the lining of the stomach and secret alcohol, thus intoxicating the victim. The victim also produces an excess of mucus which is colored brown, hence the name of the disease.

If a drunkbug crawls into a creature’s stomach, it must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or contract slug snot. In 1d4 hours the first symptoms appear. For the duration of the disease the infected creature is poisoned. After 3d4 days of infection the disease the creature dies from alcohol poisoning and the drunkbug lays its eggs in the stomach of the corpse.

At the end of each long rest, the drunkbug relaxes its grip on the infected creature’s stomach and the target is allowed a new DC 13 Constitution saving throw. If the creature succeeds it vomits up the drunkbug and the disease is cured.

Wasting Away

There are special patches of phosphorescent, psionic paritutu mold which grow only in the deepest tunnels of The Underdark. Breathing in the paritutu spores causes wasting away which rapidly ages its victims. Elves and dragons are immune to this disease.

A creature who breathes in the spores must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or contract wasting away. In 1d4 days the first symptoms appear. The creature’s veins glow in the dark and it ages one year.

At the end of each long rest an infected creature must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw. If the creature fails it ages one year. If the creature fails three of these saving throws it automatically ages 1 year at the end of every long rest and the disease can only be cured with a wish spell. If it succeeds on three of these saving throws the disease is cured, but the creature remains aged.

Wiped Away

This horrifying disease targets intelligent creatures and is caused by breathing in a magical mist created by The Void. Victims of the disease begin to forget who they are as do the people associated with the infected creature. By the end of the disease it is as the infected creature never lived and then it literally phases out of existence. Troglodytes are immune to this disease.

Those who breathe in the mist must succeed on a DC 15 Charisma saving throw or contract wiped away. In 1d4 days the first symptoms begin to appear. The creature suffers level 1 of the wiped away, described on the Wiped Away Effects table.

At the end of each extended rest an infected creature must make a DC 15 Charisma saving throw. Creatures who fail gain one level of the disease. The creature suffers from the effect of its current level of wiped away as well as the effects of all levels below its current level. If the creature succeeds its disease level is reduced by one. If the creature’s disease level is reduced below 1, the disease is cured.

Wiped Away Effects
Level Effect
1 Infected creature forgets all of its childhood. Others who have met the infected creature only once forget anything about the creature.
2 Infected creature forgets all of its adolescence. Others who have met the creature 10 times or less forget anything about the creature.
3 Infected creature forgets any passions and hobbies it has. The creature’s name and deeds disappear from all records.
4 Infected creature forgets all former romantic partners and lovers and vice versa.
5 Creature forgets all friends and family and vice versa. Creature forgets its own name.
6 Creature disappears in a puff of mists from The Void and no one remembers it ever existing.
The Void

Scholars believe there is something beneath The Underdark called The Void. This space is actually no space at all. It is absolute nothingness. It has the absence of being. There are a few places in The Underdark which are open pits into The Void.

Some nihilistic troglodyte clans worship The Void. They sacrifice victims by throwing them into nothingness and seek to end the pointlessness of existence by finding a way to set The Void free and swallow the world. Those who fall into The Void are never heard from again and cannot be raised from the dead by any means. Perhaps their soul is destroyed, they are alive somewhere within The Void, or transported somewhere else.

PDF

If you want to take these diseases with you and put them into your game, use the PDF link below.

Diseases

If you want to grab this PDF at a later date, it will live in the Free Game Resources section of this site along with monstersD&D fifth edition rules modules, backgroundsspells, magic items, and more.

Don’t forget to check out EN World EN5ider!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Just a quick post here to let you all know that my second published article, “Get Sick,” is currently available through EN World EN5ider. Morrus, EN World King, and his team are awesome and have been putting out great fifth edition content and they have a whole catalogue of stuff still to come. I definitely recommend you check out the work over there. My first article, “Give Chase,” is available over there as well and ready to make chases in your game awesome.

“Get Sick,” contains six new diseases for your game including bottle fever, demonic plague, ooze decay, itching insides, aberrant touch, and walking rot. There’s also some advice from me at the beginning of the article about crafting your own diseases for fifth edition! Once again, I have to praise the team and EN5ider. James Haeck, the editor, is the best in the business and should get a raise. The art is so fun and wonderful. You can get a few articles and adventure from free so check EN World EN5ider out!

On Tuesday I’ll be posting a companion piece to go with the article on this blog so stay tuned!

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my other podcasts, Bonus Action and Gamer to Gamer, tell your friends, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!