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2nd Edition AD&D-clone with 3rd/5th Edition SRD

ash adler

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Magic and Experience, to get them out of the way in preparation for the next big chapter.
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Chapter 7: Magic
Characters must prepare specific spells in their spell slots in order to cast them. This takes ten minutes of prayer (for Priest spells) or study (for Wizard spells) per spell level. The same spell can be prepared multiple times, with each preparation counting as its own spell slot. The prepared spell cannot be changed or forgotten without expending the spell slot.

Spells may be prepared using higher level spell slots than the spell level. There’s no alteration in the spell’s performance for doing so.

The spell slot is expended upon attempting to cast the spell. It is restored at the end of a long rest.

Learning Wizard Spells
When a Bard or Wizard finds scrolls or spell books, they can try to learn any of the spells therein that they can cast by succeeding on a 2d6 “Chance to Learn Spell” check per Table 5. Scrolls are consumed in this attempt. If successful, it takes one hour of scribing per spell level to add it to the PC’s spell book.

Specialist Wizards learn one spell from their school (see Table 20) automatically when they gain a level. They may never learn spells of the opposition school(s). If a spell belongs multiple schools, it can’t be learned by any Special Wizard opposed to any of its schools.

Priest Spells
Characters capable of casting Priest spells have access to all spells of their available spheres for which they have spell slots. If a spell belongs to multiple spheres, it is available to any character with access to at least one of its spheres.

Priest spells may be cast while wearing any armor that the character is trained for.

At the GM’s option, spellcasters may be able to cast the cantrip spell once per day per caster level without requiring any spell preparation.

Reversible Spells
When a spell is noted as being reversible, the version of the spell being prepared must be specified.

Casting Spells
A character casting a spell must stay still. If casting during combat, they lose any AC benefit from Dexterity and can’t use any movement until the spell’s casting is complete. If casting under duress (e.g. on a ship during a storm), they must make a Fortitude saving throw for each round spent casting the spell.

If the character is struck by a weapon or fails a saving throw before the spell casting is complete, the spell is lost, and the spell slot is expended.

Additionally, spells require certain components:
  • V: Verbal, requiring that the character can speak
  • S: Somatic, requiring free movement of arms
  • M: Material, requiring certain items be on the caster
The character must fulfill the required conditions for the full duration of the casting.

Line of Sight/Line of Effect
Unless noted otherwise in the spell’s description, the caster must be able to see the target point for the spell, and there must be an unblocked line of effect from the caster to the target point.

Area of Effect
Most spells affecting an area use the following geometry:
  • Line: A straight line originating from the caster/target point
  • Cone: A cone originating from the caster/target point with end diameter equal to height
  • Cube: A cube with the caster/target point on one of its faces
  • Sphere: A sphere with the caster/target point at its center
Attack Rolls
When a spell requires an attack roll, the character can add their attack bonus and Strength modifier to the 1d20 roll.

Chapter 8: Experience
Overcoming obstacles and achieving adventure goals results in gaining XP. All PCs receive a full share. NPC followers receive a half-share. NPC allies receive a full share.

Individual characters may earn further XP outside of adventures by making progress towards their own goals, such as a Fighter raising soldiers to defend their keep in their absence or a Druid mediating a dispute between loggers and local fey.

EDIT: minor formatting and typo corrections

Nice and easy, for the most part. Updating and condensing 24 pages for Combat will probably take a bit more effort.
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ash adler

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Combaaat~! It's the beefiest chapter left~! (imagine that in a singsong cadence matching the opening vocals of Avenged Sevenfold's "Nightmare" :LOL:)
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Chapter 9: Combat
Attack Rolls
An attack roll consists of: 1d20 + attack bonus (see Table 40) + ability score modifier + magical bonus(es) + situational modifier(s)

If the attack roll is higher than the target’s AC, the attack hits.

        Warrior            Wizard            Priest            Rogue
Rate    1/1 levels        1/3 levels        2/3 levels        1/2 levels
1            0                0                0                0
2            +1               0                0                0
3            +2               0                0                +1
4            +3               +1               +2               +1
5            +4               +1               +2               +2
6            +5               +1               +2               +2
7            +6               +2               +4               +3
8            +7               +2               +4               +3
9            +8               +2               +4               +4
10           +9               +3               +6               +4
11           +10              +3               +6               +5
12           +11              +3               +6               +5
13           +12              +4               +8               +6
14           +13              +4               +8               +6
15           +14              +4               +8               +7
16           +15              +5               +10              +7
17           +16              +5               +10              +8
18           +17              +5               +10              +8
19           +18              +6               +12              +9
20           +19              +6               +12              +9
Table 40: Attack Bonus for Each Group

Strength modifier adds to melee weapon attacks. Dexterity modifier adds to bow and missile weapon attacks. Either Strength or Dexterity modifier may add to thrown weapon attacks.

Table 41 has examples of situational modifiers.
Situation                            Modifier
Attacker on higher ground            +1
Attacking from behind                +2
Attacker invisible                   +4
Melee attack on prone defender       +4
Defender squeezing through a tunnel  +4
Ranged attack on prone defender      -4
Attack blinded                       -4
Table 41: Situational Modifiers for Attack Rolls

A die roll of 1 always misses. A die roll of 20 always hits.

The Order of Combat
  1. The GM determines the actions of the NPCs.
  2. The players declare their actions.
  3. Initiative is rolled.
  4. Turns are resolved in order of initiative.
  5. End of round effects are resolved, and the sequence repeats if needed.
A round represents one minute, during which each character can take one action. Examples of actions include:
  • Attacking with a weapon
  • Charging with a melee weapon
  • Casting a spell with a casting time of one round or less
  • Drinking a potion
  • Activating a magic item
  • Attempting to open a door
  • Binding wounds
  • Stowing a shield
In the course of a round, a character can also perform actions that take a negligible amount of time, such as shouting a warning, dropping a lantern, falling prone, or drawing a weapon.

In cases of characters with an uneven number of attacks per round, fractional attacks carry over to the next round (e.g. a level 7 Paladin with a melee weapon attacks once on the first round, twice on the second round, once on the third round, etc.)

Each side involved in combat rolls 1d10, rerolling ties. The highest roll wins initiative.

If everyone on one side has a situational advantage or hindrance, they may have an initiative modifier. Examples are shown in Table 42.

Situation                                    Modifier
Affected by haste spell                      +2
Opponents all charging                       +2
Waiting for other’s reaction                 -1
Affected by slow spell                       -2
Slippery footing                             -2
Climbing, tangled, or otherwise hindered     -3
Wading in water waist- to shoulder-deep      -4
Wading in mud waist- to shoulder-deep        -6
Table 42: Situational Modifiers for Initiative

A character can normally move up to their speed in the course of taking their action unless they are casting a spell.

If the character intends to use a ranged weapon, they can move up to half their speed and still attack at half the normal rate of fire (e.g. an unencumbered Thief throwing daggers can move 30 feet and throw 1 dagger as their action).

If the character charges, they can move up to 1.5 times their speed and make a single melee attack at the end of their movement with a +2 bonus on the attack roll. However, they forgo their Dexterity modifier to their AC and suffer a further -1 AC penalty for the round.

If the character forgoes taking any other action, they can move up to twice their speed. However, if they were engaged in melee to start the round, their opponents may immediately make a full round of melee attacks against them. This doesn’t count as part of the opponent’s action.

Reach, Engagement, and Movement in Melee
Normally, a character has a 5-foot reach with melee attacks. Opponents within this reach are considered engaged in melee.

If an opponent tries to move around or past the character while engaged, the character can make a melee attack with a +2 bonus on the attack roll for every 5 feet the opponent moves in melee reach. This doesn’t count as part of the character’s action. Approaching closer or backing directly away don’t provoke this free attack.

Nonstandard Movement and Difficult Terrain
Modes of movement other than normal walking/running (such as climbing, crawling, or swimming) cost 1 additional foot of movement per 1 foot traversed. Difficult terrain, such as heavy rubble or an icy surface, also costs 1 additional foot of movement per 1 foot traversed. These effects are cumulative (e.g. climbing an icy rock face costs 3 feet per 1 foot traversed).

Spellcasting in Combat
A character must select the specific spell they are casting prior to rolling initiative. Their casting begins at the start of the round. A character casting a spell may not use any movement.

Spells with a casting time of "Quick" or “Standard” are completed during the character’s action. Spells with a casting time of “1 round” or longer are completed during the end of the round.

If the character is casting a “Touch”-ranged spell on a willing target who is engaged in melee, they must succeed on an attack roll against AC 10. Otherwise, willing targets are touched automatically, and an attack roll against the target’s AC is needed to touch an unwilling target.

Multiple Attacks Per Round
If a character has multiple attacks per round, they make all of them as part of their action. A character may switch targets between attacks, provided they have the range and/or movement to reach another target.

Wielding Multiple Weapons
A character may wield separate weapons in each hand, provided they can both be used one-handed and the offhand weapon is either the same weight and Small size or lighter weight.

By default, the main weapon suffers a -2 penalty and the offhand suffers a -4 penalty on their attack rolls. The character’s Dexterity modifier is added to these penalties, up to a maximum of 0 (e.g. a character with 18 Dexterity would have 0 penalty to the main weapon and -1 to the offhand).

Only the main weapon may benefit from multiple attacks per round. The offhand weapon may make only one attack per round.

Unarmed Combat
A character may use unarmed strikes to deal 1d2+Strength modifier bludgeoning damage (increased to 1d3 if the character is using gauntlets, brass knuckles, iron boots, etc.). All characters are proficient in unarmed strikes automatically. Unarmed strikes may be made as long as the character has at least one free limb.

A character with both hands free may attempt to grapple an opponent, provided the target is no more than one size category larger. If the character hits on an unarmed attack roll and the target fails a Fortitude or Reflex saving throw (target’s choice), the grapple is successful, dealing 1+Strength modifier bludgeoning damage and causing the grappled condition to the target, and the target is unable to use any weapon larger than a dagger. Thereafter, the character hits automatically and does 1 additional damage every round until the grapple is broken or released (e.g. a 12 Strength character holding a grapple for four rounds deals 1+2+3+4 = 10 bludgeoning damage in total).

While grappling, the character can move together with the target as if moving through difficult terrain, provided that the character has available carrying capacity to push or drag the target.

To break the grapple, the target must use its action to attempt another Fortitude or Reflex saving throw. The grapple is also broken if an effect moves the grappler and target apart.

One or more characters may attempt to pile onto an opponent to grapple and restrain them, provided the target is no more than one size category larger than the largest attacker. The attacker with the worst attack bonus makes an unarmed attack roll, with a +1 for each additional attacker. Each size category difference between the target and the largest attacker further modifies this roll by 4 (e.g. a troll [size L] and two goblins [size S] attempting to mob a human [size M] would use the goblin’s attack bonus with a +6 modifier; +2 for two additional attackers and +4 for the troll’s size advantage). If the attack roll hits, the target is grappled and restrained. Another successful attack roll is needed each round to maintain.

A character may forgo a melee attack to shove or trip an opponent, provided the target is no more than one size category larger. If the character hits on a weapon attack roll (or unarmed attack roll) and the target fails a Fortitude or Reflex saving throw (target’s choice), the target takes normal damage, is moved back 5 feet, and is knocked prone. If the character is wielding a pole weapon, scourge, or whip, the target’s saving throw against tripping is rolled at disadvantage.

If the character can make multiple melee attacks per round, shoving/tripping replaces only one attack per attempt.

Unarmed attacks and grappling are treated as subdual attacks by default. Melee weapons may also be used to subdue, provided the weapon can be used in a nonlethal fashion, by taking a -4 penalty on the attack roll.

Subdual attacks deal 50% normal damage and 50% subdual damage (recovered after 1 hour). If after the normal damage is applied, the target reaches 0 or fewer hit points due to subdual damage, they fall unconscious until it is recovered or healed.

Firing Ranged Attacks into Melee
A ranged attack at a target engaged in melee may hit someone else. Weighting of targets is by size:

Tiny = 1, Small = 2, Medium = 4, Large = 8, Huge = 16, Gargantuan = 32

The GM totals the weightings for all creatures engaged by or adjacent to the target and rolls to determine who is hit (e.g. targeting an ogre [size L] fighting a gnome [size S] and a human [size M] would have a 1/7 chance of hitting the gnome, 2/7 of hitting the human, and 4/7 of hitting the ogre).

Ranged Attacks while Engaged
Attempting a ranged weapon attack while engaged in melee incurs a -4 penalty to the attack roll.

Cover Against Ranged Attacks
An obstacle that blocks at least half of the target’s body (half cover) grants a +2 bonus to AC and Reflex saving throws. An obstacle that blocks at least three-quarters of the target’s body (three-quarters cover) grants a +5 bonus to AC and Reflex saving throws. An obstacle that conceals the creature completely (full cover) prevents them from being targeted directly.

A shield used by the character does not count as cover for that character.

Improvised Missiles
Improvised items, such as rocks or acid vials, may be thrown as missile weapons. These attacks all suffer the penalty for lacking weapon proficiency.

Items weighing 5 lbs. or less have 10-foot range increments. Heavier items have less, at the GM’s discretion. Exceptionally heavy items (such as another humanoid) require a success 2d6 “Bend Bars/Lift Gates” check (see Table 2) to throw effectively.

If the missile would leave a hazard (e.g. an acid vial or a jar of green slime) and the attack roll misses, roll 1d6 per range increment to determine how far away it landed and 1d8 to determine the direction (1 means short of the target, and other results proceed clockwise).

A character may forgo taking other actions to defend themselves. This imposes disadvantage on all incoming attack rolls and grants the character advantage on Reflex saving throws.

Saving Throws
Saving throws represent characters instinctively defending themselves from external effects. They consist of:

1d20 + ability score bonus + magical bonus(es) + situational modifier(s)

The required roll depends on the character’s group and level and the saving throw type, see Table 43.

Group        Level    Fortitude    Reflex    Will
Warrior       0        16          19        18
              1-2      14          17        16
              3-4      13          16        15
              5-6      11          13        13
              7-8      10          12        12
              9-10     8           10        10
              11-12    7           9         9
              13-14    5           6         7
              15-16    4           5         6
              17-20    3           5         5
Wizard        1-5      13          13        11
              6-10     12          11        9
              11-15    10          9         7
              16-20    8           7         5
Priest        1-3      11          15        14
              4-6      10          14        13
              7-9      8           12        11
              10-12    7           11        10
              13-15    6           10        9
              16-18    5           9         8
              19-20    3           7         6
Rogue         1-4      12          15        14
              5-8      11          14        12
              9-12     10          12        10
              13-16    9           11        8
              17-20    8           9         6
Table 43: Saving Throws

Magic wondrous items, such as a cloak of protection, apply their saving throw bonus to all saving throws. Magic armor, such as chain mail +1, only applies its bonus against effects where armor would reasonably be effective (e.g. against a fireball or a black dragon’s acid breath, but not against a cloudkill or an aboleth’s domination), unless noted otherwise in the item’s description.

A character may voluntarily choose to forgo rolling a saving throw.

Magic Resistance
Magic resistance is given as a percentage for certain creatures and magic items. When they are targeted by a magical effect directly, roll a d%. If the roll is equal to or less than the magic resistance, the magic has no effect on the target. This is in addition to their normal saving throw, if applicable.

If the magical effect encompasses an area (such as a fear), the GM determines whether it is affecting the creature (and so subject to magic resistance) or the environment (and so not subject to it).

If a creature or item with magic resistance interacts with a permanent spell and succeeds on its magic resistance check, the spell is suppressed until the creature or item leaves the area of effect.

A creature may voluntarily choose to lower its magic resistance or to forgo rolling a magic resistance check.

Turn Undead
Clerics and Paladin may use their action to attempt to turn undead. A character may attempt this only once per encounter. The results are determined individually if multiple characters attempt it at the same time.

Hit Dice    Level of Cleric
of Creature   1     2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10-11    12-13    14+
1             10    7    4    T    T    D    D    D*   D*   D*       D*       D*
2             16    13   10   7    4    T    T    D    D    D*       D*       D*
3             19    16   13   10   7    4    T    T    D    D        D*       D*
4             20    19   16   13   10   7    4    T    T    D        D        D*
5             -     20   19   16   13   10   7    4    T    T        D        D
6             -     -    20   19   16   13   10   7    4    T        T        D
7             -     -    -    20   19   16   13   10   7    4        T        T
8             -     -    -    -    20   19   16   13   10   7        4        T
9             -     -    -    -    -    20   19   16   13   10       7        4
10            -     -    -    -    -    -    20   19   16   13       10       7
11            -     -    -    -    -    -    -    20   19   16       13       10
12+           -     -    -    -    -    -    -    -    20   19       16       13
Table 44: Turn Undead
*: Additional 2d4 creatures of the same Hit Dice are affected.

When attempted, if Table 44 shows “D”, the undead are destroyed automatically. If Table 44 shows “T”, the undead are turned automatically. If Table 44 shows “-”, the attempt has no effect. Otherwise, roll 1d20 (only one roll per encounter). If the roll matches or exceeds the table entry, the undead are turned. Paladins act as a Cleric of 2 fewer levels for the purposes of turning undead.

A successful turning affects 2d6 undead. In a mixed group, the lowest Hit Dice creatures have priority.

Mindless undead retreat and allow the character (and anyone accompanying them) to act or pass unmolested. Free-willed undead attempt to flee out of sight. If unable to escape, they keep a separation of at least 10 feet from the character, provided the turning is maintained (no further die rolls needed). If the character forces the undead to come closer than 10 feet, the turning is broken.

If the character performing the turning is evil, they may attempt to gain control of the undead instead. A successful turning means the undead obey the character, while a “D” means the undead are completely subservient to the character.

Damage Types
For the purposes of special defenses/vulnerabilities, all damage belongs to one of 13 types:

Acid, Bludgeoning, Cold, Fire, Force, Lightning, Necrotic, Piercing, Poison, Psychic, Radiant, Slashing, Sonic

If an attack lists multiple types (e.g. a morning star deals piercing/bludgeoning damage), the most favorable for the attacker is used.

Damage Resistance, Immunity, and Vulnerability
Damage resistance indicates the creature takes only half damage of that damage type. Damage immunity indicates they take no damage. Damage vulnerability indicates they take double damage. These multipliers are applied after any other modifiers (e.g. if a level 3 Thief with 15 Strength triggers a Sneak Attack with a club +1 against a creature with resistance to bludgeoning damage and rolls 3 damage, the damage dealt is [(3 x 2) + 1 + 1] / 2 = 4 bludgeoning damage).

A successful attack always deals at least 1 damage.

Falls deal 1d6 damage per 10 feet, to a maximum of 20d6.

Natural Healing
Characters heal 1 hit point per day naturally. If a character has complete bed rest, they heal 1 Hit Dice (including Constitution modifier, if applicable) worth of hit points per day. A character resting for four weeks heals fully regardless of their hit point total.

Natural healing doesn’t occur if the character is lacking adequate food, water, or sleep.

Death by Accumulated Damage
A character reduced to 0 or fewer hit points falls unconscious and (if a spellcaster) loses any memorized spells. They continue to lose 1 hit point per round. Death occurs at -10 hit points.

If another character spends an action to bind their wounds, the character stops losing further hit points.

Magical healing (such as a cure spell or potion of healing administered by another character) brings the character to 1 hit point. They cannot recover further until they have had at least one day of rest, and the character is too shaken and disoriented to fight.

A heal spell or greater restores hit points as normal and returns the character to their full vitality and wits, though any previously memorized spells are still lost.

Death by Massive Damage
If a character suffers 50 damage or more from a single attack, the character must succeed on a 2d6 “Withstand Shock” check (see Table 4) or die immediately.

Death by Poison
If a character dies while poisoned, the poison remains potent for its normal duration or 2d6 hours after death, whichever is less. If revived while the poison is still in effect, they must immediately make a Fortitude saving throw or suffer the poison’s effects.

Inescapable Death
In special circumstances, the GM may rule that a character has died, no matter their remaining hit points, such as if they are immersed in lava with no magical protection or buried by a collapsing castle.

Reviving from Death
A character who has died may be returned to life by powerful magic, such as raise dead. Each time they are subject to such magic, they must succeed on a 2d6 “Revival Survival” check (see Table 4) or else be dead permanently.

Magical revival from death reduces a character’s Constitution score by 1 permanently. If a character is reduced to 0 Constitution, they are dead permanently.

EDIT: Added "Reach, Engagement, and Movement in Melee", fixed shoving/tripping to only deal half damage (otherwise, there'd be no reason to use normal attacks) and changed "weapon attack roll" to "melee attack roll" to clarify that it's not meant for ranged weapons, and added "Death by Poison"
Plenty of little tweaks in this chapter for mechanic unification and my own preferences.

THAC0 is converted to work with ascending AC. Personally, I was always fine with it as it was, but this just announces the AC it hits instead of needing an extra step of comparing it to THAC0.

Initiative ties are rerolled instead of having simultaneous action. Optional initiative systems are ignored for simplicity.

Fighting withdrawl uses normal movement distance instead of reducing it by 1/3 (note that my presentation of movement speed is already halved from standard AD&D, so it's a difference of 1/2 vs. 1/3, not "normal" vs. 1/3...I'm willing to live with a 1/6 discrepancy).

Standardized rules for modes of movement and difficult terrain are added in.

Multiple attacks all happen on the creature's action instead of staggering for weapon attacks but being on the action for natural attacks (mostly to avoid issues like "does claw/claw/bite count as 3 attacks on action or 2 attacks on action + 1 staggered?").

Dual-wielding is slightly more flexible about the offhand options.

Unarmed combat, grappling, and shoving/tripping are overhauled to be similar to 5E.

Subdual is standardized to always being 50/50 instead of having a different scale for unarmed.

G/H-sized creatures make up a larger proportion when firing into melee.

"Ranged while engaged" penalty is made explicit.

Dropped concealment and simplified cover.

Parrying is replaced by 5E's defensive option.

Saving throws compressed to 3 categories (Fortitude = ave(PPDM,PP), Reflex = ave(BW,S), Will = ave(RSW,S)).

Slight adjustment of the turn undead table to break out 4 HD as its own line and put a HD value against the previously anomalous "Ghast" line.

Removed evil priests being able to turn paladins. It's got flavor, but it's rather shitty for the player.

5E style damage types and resist/immune/vulnerable.

Natural healing rate for full day's rest increased from 3 to Hit Dice. Con modifier added in per day instead of per week.

Death's door rule from the DMG implemented instead of 0 = dead.

Massive damage check changed from a saving throw to a System Shock check (I swear I always played it that way, for some reason...:unsure:).

I removed the section on energy drain because I'm not sure if I want to handle it as level drain (per 2E/3E) or max HP drain (per 5E). The latter is easier, but also less threatening.
Edit: After some thought, I'm leaning towards max HP drain plus a new "depleted" condition giving penalties on d20 rolls
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ash adler

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A trifecta of mostly standard terms and conditions.
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Chapter 10: Treasure
Mundane treasures can be coins, gems, jewelry, works of art, antiques, or tradable goods.

Magic Items
When first encountered, the properties of magic items must be discovered by experimentation, consulting sages, or magic, such as the identify spell, unless noted otherwise.

The general categories of magic items are:
  • Magic weapons
  • Magic armors and shields
  • Potions, oils, and unguents
  • Scrolls (Wizard spell scrolls can be identified by casting read magic)
  • Rods, staves, and wands (command words are required to activate these items)
  • Wondrous items (these can be anything that doesn’t fit into other categories)
  • Artifacts and relics (unique magic items)
A character’s active magical equipment is limited only by how much they can wear reasonably.

Chapter 11: Encounters
Surprise is checked by rolling 1d10. On a roll of 1-3, the relevant party is surprised. This range may be modified depending on circumstances.

In the case of a planned ambush, the ambushing party gets a free set of actions, and then the ambushed party checks for surprise.

If a surprise occurs, any groups not surprised can make a round of attacks with melee weapons, ranged weapons, cast spells with a casting time of "Quick", or magic items only; they may not cast spells with a casting time of "Standard" or longer. Surprised characters lose their AC bonus from their Dexterity modifier. If all parties are surprised, the effects cancel, and the encounter proceeds normally.

Encounter Options
Some common approaches to an encounter starting are:
  • Avoidance, evasion, or escape
  • Talking
  • Combat
  • Waiting to see how to the other party reacts (note that if they decide to attack, the waiting party has a -1 initiative penalty per Table 42)
Chapter 12: NPCs
Hirelings are NPCs employed by a PC, such as bakers, blacksmiths, messengers, sailors, or spies. They are employed for a stated term or specific task.

Hirelings won’t risk their lives for their employer in normal circumstances. They generally don’t accompany PCs on adventures. They may make loyalty/morale checks (adjusted by the employer’s Charisma modifier) to resist competing employment offers, bribes, or other temptations.

Attendants are NPCs who seek out the PC to offer services. A stronghold is necessary to attract followers. Further details are given in Chapter 3: PC Classes.

Most attendants must still be paid and well-treated and don’t accompany PCs on adventures. However, they have an indefinite term of service, are more loyal, can increase in level, and don’t require the PC to find them.

In general, slain or otherwise lost attendants are not replaced.

Followers are generally unpaid NPCs who serve a specific PC out of loyalty. They will accompany PCs on adventures.

Followers may start as hirelings, attendants, or allies. If a follower ever equals the PC’s level, they may leave to try their own luck in the world.

A PC’s Charisma limits the maximum number of followers that they may have (see Table 7). This is a lifetime limit, not an instantaneous maximum. Generally, a player controls their character’s followers, though the GM can dictate the followers’ actions at their discretion.

PC Obligations
Aside from any agreed pay, PCs are expected to provide meals and boarding for their hirelings, attendants, and followers. Soldiers or mercenaries are also expected to be provided with replacements for any weapons, armor, mounts, or equipment damaged or lost in service to the PC, along with transportation (if needed) and interment, should they fall. Captured NPCs are expected to be ransomed.

The PC is expected to make efforts to revive slain followers, though not hirelings or attendants.

Allies are NPCs who choose to accompany the PCs on an adventure. They are normally equals to the PCs, and they typically leave once their interest in the adventure has been fulfilled.

Edit: Corrected mistake about casting spells during surprise.
Edit2: Corrected magic item equipment restriction.

This is prime material to be reorganized later. The Encounters chapter at least should be rolled into a general Adventuring chapter (which should come before the Combat chapter), and Treasure should probably be rolled into Money and Equipment (or be adjacent to it, at the very least). The NPC chapter also feels caught up in assuming that the PC is good, although maybe I'm reading too much into it.
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ash adler

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Finishing up the PHB, aside from appendices for spell details and conditions.
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Chapter 13: Vision and Light
Vision range depends on topography, obstructions, weather, and lighting conditions.

Dim lighting (such as at twilight), moderate foliage, light fog, or heavy rain can all create a lightly obscured area. This impairs vision range to roughly 20-30% of good conditions and imposes a -4 penalty on Perception(Wisdom) ability checks based on sight.

Darkness (such as at night), dense foliage, opaque fog, or heavy snowfall can all create a heavily obscured area. This effectively blinds characters.

Some common sources of light are listed in Table 45.
Source                Bright Light Area        Dim Light Area        Typical Duration
Bonfire                50 ft. radius            100 ft. radius       30 min./armload of wood
Bullseye Lantern       30 ft. cone              60 ft. cone          2 hours/oil flask
Campfire               30 ft. radius            60 ft. radius        1 hour/armload of wood
Candle                 5 ft. radius             10 ft. radius        1 hour
Continual Flame        15 ft. radius            30 ft. radius        Until dispelled
Hooded Lantern,        30 ft. radius            60 ft. radius        2 hours/oil flask
hood up
Hooded Lantern,        -                        5 ft. radius         2 hours/oil flask
hood down
Lamp                   10 ft. radius            20 ft. radius        2 hours/oil flask
Light                  20 ft. radius            40 ft. radius        Per spell details
Torch                  15 ft. radius            30 ft. radius        30 min.
Table 45: Light Sources and Durations

Alternate Modes of Vision
Darkvision lets a creature treat dim light as bright light and darkness as dim light within its range. However, all vision is in shades of grey, and areas of bright light are treated as heavily obscured.

Blindsight allows a creature to ignore dim lighting and darkness within its range. The GM may consider further effects, such as ignoring other obscuring effects and/or cover.

Truesight allows a creature to see perfectly within its range, including seeing through invisibility, illusions, and shapechanging. It may also see into other planes of existence.

Switching between modes of vision can be done once per round.

Using Mirrors
Using a mirror to aim attacks or other actions imposes a -2 penalty on attack rolls and ability checks.

A character loses their Dexterity modifier to AC when attacked by an opponent seen only in a mirror.

Chapter 14: Time and Movement
Special Units of Time

1 round is 1 minute. 1 turn is 10 minutes.

Detailed Movement
Base movement speeds are given in Chapter 2: Player Character Races. Depending on the character’s current burden and carrying capacity, these may be modified (see Chapter 6: Money and Equipment).

In combat, a character can typically move up to their speed during 1 round.

Outside of combat, a character can walk up to twice their speed during 1 round while being cautious and paying attention to their surroundings (known as “exploring movement”). This pace can be tripled (to “travel movement”) at the cost of ignoring caution, imposing a -1 penalty on their surprise roll and a +1 bonus on opponents’ surprise rolls, as well as forgoing noticing traps, secret doors or panels, etc.

Running can double the “travel movement” rate for 10+Constituion modifier rounds. Continuing to run beyond this duration requires a TN 10 Athletics(Constitution) ability check every round. Failing the check means the character must stop to rest for as many rounds as they were running.

If a character tries to run from a pursuer of equal speed, both sides roll for initiative (if in combat, the player declares their desire to flee as their action). Whoever rolls higher may increase/decrease their separation by 10 feet per difference in the dice (e.g. if the character rolls 4 and the pursuer rolls 2, the character pulls away by 20 feet).

Long Distance Movement
In a normal day, a character can travel on foot at 1 mile/hour per 20 feet of speed. This pace can be maintained for 8 hours per day, plus 2 hours spent on breaks and meals (e.g. an unencumbered human [speed 60 feet] covers 24 miles at 3 miles/hour in a full day).

Either the pace or the duration can be increased with a forced march. Pace may be increased to 1 mile/hour per 15 feet of speed. Extending the duration requires an Athletics(Constitution) ability check with a cumulative -1/hour penalty for every additional hour. Either effect requires a Constitution ability check with a cumulative -1/consecutive day of marching penalty at the end of the day (only once if both are employed). Failing any of these checks means the character suffers one level of exhaustion and can’t march again until resting for 12 hours per day of marching. Additionally, any attack rolls suffer a -1 penalty per day of marching until the character has rested for 12 hours per day of marching.

If the character has at least a 10-foot run, they can jump a horizontal distance up to 10+Strength modifier or a vertical distance up to 1+Strength modifier (all distances given in feet). Without the running start, jumping distance is halved.

If landing in difficult terrain, a Dexterity ability check is required to land safely.

Characters without a specific swimming speed can swim in any direction in placid water at half their movement speed. This can be maintained for 10+Constitution modifier hours. Each additional hour reduces their Constitution score by 1 and requires an Athletics(Constitution) ability check. Movement speed may be reduced and checks may be more frequent if the water isn’t calm. Failing the check means the character must spend 30 minutes treading water before continuing. If their Constitution score reaches 0, they drown.

Each hour of swimming imposes a cumulative -1 penalty to attack rolls. Constitution score loss and attack penalties are recovered by 1d6 points each per day of rest.

Characters who are wearing metal armor or who are encumbered generally sink at a rate of 20 feet per round. They may walk along the bottom of the water with the same speed and consequences as if swimming.

Holding Breath
A character can hold their breath for 2 X Constitution ability modifier rounds (min. 1). Attempting to exceed this requires a Constitution check each round, increasing the difficulty for each additional round. If a character fails this check and can’t take a breath by the end of the round, they drown.

Characters without a specific climbing speed can climb a dry tree, scaffold, open framework, or similar structure with abundant handholds in any direction at half their movement speed. Climbing for longer than 10 minutes requires an Athletics(Constitution) ability check.

More difficult surfaces may require an Athletics(Strength) ability check every 10-20 feet to make progress. Frequency and ability check penalties are up to the GM, adjusted for the presence of possible handholds, slipperiness of the surface, wind conditions, etc. Climbing very smooth surfaces like vertical metal sheets or uncracked glass is impossible without magical aids or applicable climbing tools.

Actions while Climbing
Climbing characters lose any AC from their Dexterity modifier or shield. They cannot use two-handed weapons. Characters casting spells with an S component must make an Athletics(Strength) ability check to maintain their grip or else fall. These restrictions don’t apply if the character is at a place of secure footing.

A character who is struck while climbing must make an Athletics(Strength) ability check to maintain their grip.

If a rope is secured at the top of a climb, a character can rappel down at their movement speed.

Chapter 15: Adventuring
Advantage and Disadvantage
Due to special abilities, magical influence, or other special circumstances, characters may have “advantage” or “disadvantage” on an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw. In these cases, roll one additional die. Drop the lowest result for advantage, drop the highest result for disadvantage.

Advantage/disadvantage never goes beyond one additional die. If circumstances dictate that both may apply, they cancel out, no matter how many circumstances would apply one or the other.

Working Together
If multiple characters work together for an ability check (e.g. two characters pushing a boulder over a cliff), the ability check is made by the character leading the attempt, with a bonus equal to the sum of the relevant ability score modifiers of all the helpers (min. +1/helper).

If the ability check is based on a skill, only characters with proficiency in the skill may assist.

If a group of characters is attempting something where the skilled characters may cover for those who aren’t (e.g. recognizing patches of thin ice when crossing a frozen lake), the GM may consider it a group success if at least half of the characters make the relevant ability check.

Food and Water
A character eats 2 lbs. of food per day. They may subsist on 1 lbs. of food, but this counts as half a day without food. After 3+Constitution modifier (min. 1) days without food, they suffer one level of exhaustion for each additional day without food. A normal day of eating resets this count.

A character drinks 1 gallon of water per day. This may increase in especially hot conditions. If they cannot meet at least half of their daily water requirement, they suffer one level of exhaustion.

If the character has at least two levels of exhaustion already, the rate of additional exhaustion from starving or dehydration doubles.

A long rest is an 8-hour period of extended downtime (such as sleeping or standing watch). If interrupted by at least 1 hour of significant activity (such as fighting or walking), the long rest must be restarted. A character who goes for more than 24 hours without a long rest suffers one level of exhaustion.

Finishing a long rest restores all expended spell slots, if applicable. Finishing a long rest also recovers one level of exhaustion if the character had sufficient food and water for the day. A character can benefit from a long rest only once per 24 hours.

Edit: Updated for revised ability checks

Nothing too noteworthy about these parts, I don't think. Next stop: spell descriptions!
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ash adler

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After wrestling with how to approach this, I settled on at least starting by going alphabetically through the wizard spells, using For Gold & Glory as a guide for what's fair game under OGL. "A" is for almighty magics.

Spoiler: Show

Spell Descriptions
Level: Wizard or Priest spell level and school(s)/sphere(s)
Range: Maximum distance from caster to point of effect.
Casting Time: Only “Quick” spells may be cast during surprise. Times of 1 round or more finish at the end of the round if cast in combat.
Components: (V)erbal, (S)omatic, (M)aterial. See Chapter 7: Magic for details.
Area of Effect: General size of the spell. Lines are defined as width X length, cones as length (same as end diameter), cubes as length of 1 edge, and spheres as radius. Multiple cubes can arranged as the caster wishes, as long as they are all within range at casting and share a face with at least 1 other cube.
Duration: How long the spell lasts after casting.
Saving Throw: Type of saving throw and whether a success negates, halves, or has a special effect.

Acid Arrow
Level: Wizard 2 (Conjuration)
Range: 540 feet                                             Area of Effect: 1 creature or object
Casting Time: Quick                                         Duration: 1 round+1 round/3 levels
Components: V, S                                            Saving Throw: None
Launches an arrow of acid (requires a ranged attack roll), dealing 2d4 acid damage on hit. Unless neutralized, another 2d4 acid damage is dealt at the start of the target’s action for each round of the duration (2 rounds for a 3rd-level caster, 3 rounds for a 6th-level caster, etc.).

Advanced Illusion
Level: Wizard 5 (Illusion)
Range: 180 feet+30 feet/ level                   Area of Effect: 4+level 10-foot cubes
Casting Time: 1 round                            Duration: 1 round/level
Components: V, S                                 Saving Throw: Will (special)
Creates an illusion per spectral force. The illusion can be programmed (per programmed illusion) to continue without further concentration. Includes visual, audio, olfactory, and thermal elements. Will save to disbelieve.

Airy Water
Level: Wizard 5 (Alteration)
Range: Self                                             Area of Effect: 10-foot sphere
Casting Time: Standard                                  Duration: 1 turn/level
Components: V, S                                        Saving Throw: None
Normal liquid in the area is treated as air for movement and breathing. May be cast while underwater.

Level: Wizard 1 (Abjuration, Evocation)
Range: 30 feet                                           Area of Effect: Up to 20-foot cube
Casting Time: 1 round                                    Duration: 4 hours+0.5 hours/level
Components: V, S                                         Saving Throw: None
Wards an area. If something larger than a normal rat and on the same plane enters or touches the area without speaking the caster’s password, it makes a ringing noise in a 60-foot sphere for 1 round.

Alter Self
Level: Wizard 2 (Alteration)
Range: Self                                                 Area of Effect: Self
Casting Time: Quick                                         Duration: 3d4 rounds+2 rounds/level
Components: V, S                                            Saving Throw: None
Caster can alter appearance, including clothing/equipment, and form to any humanoid or generally human-shaped bipedal creature within +/-50% height and weight. Forms with wings can fly at half the actual creature’s speed. Forms with gills can breathe underwater. No changes to attack rolls, damage, AC, saving throws, or other special abilities. Caster can end the spell early to revert to natural form.

Animal Growth (Shrink Animal)
Level: Wizard 5 (Alteration)
Range: 180 feet                                         Area of Effect: Up to 8 beasts in 20-foot cube
Casting Time: Standard                                  Duration: 1 round/level
Components: V, S                                        Saving Throw: None
Designated beasts grow suddenly, doubling their size, Hit Dice, and damage.

The reverse shrinks beasts, halving their size, Hit Dice, and damage.

Animate Dead
Level: Wizard 5 (Necromancy)
Range: 30 feet                                          Area of Effect: Special
Casting Time: 5 rounds                                  Duration: Permanent
Components: V, S, M                                     Saving Throw: None
Creates skeletons or zombies that obey simple commands (follow the caster, stay in the area and attack intruders, etc.). Creates 1-Hit Die skeletons or 2-Hit Die zombies, with the total Hit Dice limited by the lower of the caster’s level and the available Hit Dice of remains.

Material component is intact bones or bodies. Destroyed skeletons or zombies can’t be reanimated.

Antimagic Shell
Level: Wizard 6 (Abjuration)
Range: Self                                                 Area of Effect: 0.5 foot/level sphere
Casting Time: Quick                                         Duration: 1 turn/level
Components: V, S                                            Saving Throw: None
Creates an invisible barrier around the caster. Spells, magic items, and other magical effects (including gaze attacks, breath weapons, magical songs, etc.) don’t function against or within the barrier, including dispel magic. Charmed, summoned, or conjured creatures are forced out of the area on casting. Caster can end the spell early.

Level: Wizard 8 (Enchantment)
Range: 90 feet                                           Area of Effect: Level 10-foot cubes or 1 object
Casting Time: 1 hour                                     Duration: 2 hours/level
Components: V, S, M                                      Saving Throw: Will (special)
Attracts or repels intelligent creatures of a specific type or specific alignment, selected at start of casting. Can’t target a living creature.

Antipathy requires a Will save to stay in the area or to touch the object. On a success, the creature still loses 1 point of Dexterity per round while affected, to a maximum of -4. Failing the save forces the creature to shun the area/item until the spell ends. This has no material component.

Sympathy requires a Will save to leave the area or release the object. The save must be repeated every 1d6 turns. Material component for the sympathy effect is crushed pearls worth 1000 GP.

Level: Wizard 1 (Conjuration)
Range: Touch                                             Area of Effect: 1 creature
Casting Time: 1 round                                    Duration: Special
Components: V, S                                         Saving Throw: None
Creates weightless armor of AC 14. This is not cumulative with other armor or the spell shield. Lasts until the target takes cumulative damage more than 8+1/caster level.

Astral Spell
Level: Wizard 9 (Evocation)
Range: Self                                             Area of Effect: Special
Casting Time: Standard                                  Duration: Special
Components: V, S                                        Saving Throw: None
Caster and up to seven creatures linked in a circle with them are projected into the Astral Plane, connected to their original bodies by a silver cord. Their original bodies and mundane material possessions remain in suspended animation per Temporal Stasis (magic items can be brought). Other targets depend on the caster for travel. Astral projections can’t affect material creatures, and vice versa.

If leaving the Astral Plane to the plane of the casting, the targets remain as astral projections. If leaving the Astral Plane for another plane of existence, a secondary body is formed (still linked to the silver cord).

Death of the astral project or secondary body returns the creature to its original body and ends the spell on them. Death of the original body or severing the silver cord kills the creature.

Duration lasts until the caster ends it, the caster dies, or it is terminated by dispel magic. If other targets are separated from the caster when the spell ends, they are stranded.

Audible Glamour
Level: Wizard 1 (Illusion)
Range: 180 feet+30 feet/level                    Area of Effect: Hearing range
Casting Time: Quick                              Duration: 3 rounds/level
Components: V, S                                 Saving Throw: Will (special)
Creates illusory sound, with a maximum volume of 4 humans/caster level. Will save to disbelieve.

Avoidance (Attraction)
Level: Wizard 5 (Abjuration, Alteration)
Range: 30 feet                                          Area of Effect: 1 object up to 3-foot cube
Casting Time: Standard                                  Duration: Until dispelled
Components: V, S                                        Saving Throw: Will (special)
Makes an object repulse any living creature other than the caster. Anything trying to get closer than 1 foot either is pushed back or pushes the object away. Can’t target a living creature, and targeting a creature’s clothes/possessions grants a Will save to negate.

The reverse sets up attraction between the object and all living creatures other than the caster. A successful 2d6 “Bend Bars/Lift Gates” check (see Table 2) is needed to resist the attraction.

Man, astral spell always struck me as being overvalued as a level 9 spell (along with energy drain). It's either a nice way of exploring hostile areas with a safety net against death or a horrible decision that'll get you killed by something targeting your original body/silver cord. That's pretty boom-or-bust and with an underwhelming boom. Maybe there are some edge case applications for using it to take something else into the Astral plane without a saving throw while a party member kills its original body? I feel like there'll be less convoluted ways of doing the same with lower spell levels, though.


Master of Mutant Design
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So you are using 3e style magic item body slots (i.e. how many can be worn)? That was done away with in 5e. As long as the items can be justified, multiple ones can be worn in the same slot. Like wearing a Hat of Disguise under a Helm (of something I can't remember at the moment).

ash adler

Registered User
Validated User
Ah, good catch, thanks! :)

Bouncing back and forth between SRDs and open source OSR systems was bound to create some mistakes eventually o_O

ash adler

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After a little playtesting, I went back to using a "roll under stat"-approach for ability checks. Reasoning (in no particular order):
  1. Preserves continuity with old D&D mechanics, so it's easier to adapt existing content
  2. Makes every stat point matter (i.e. no "wasted" points that don't change the modifier)
  3. Increases the differentiation of competence between characters
It does introduce a little inconsistency compared to wanting to roll high for most everything else, but I think the fact that I use a 2d10 roll for ability checks instead of 1d20 makes it feel like enough of a separate thing that it's okay for it to have a different scale.

For group checks, I was reading through the rules for Beyond the Wall last night, and I kind of liked its "weakest link with helpers" approach (which it admittedly took from Burning Wheel, but I'm not familiar with that system). I'm keeping the 5E approach (50% pass/fail criteria) for now, but that's certainly something to consider, at least as an option.

For energy drain, it hasn't come up in play yet, but I'm leaning towards replacing it with either exhaustion or stat drain. The latter seems more thematic, while the former is probably easier for accounting. It's something I need to put more thought into, at any rate.

Since spell descriptions/lists are mostly a case of tedious conversion, I'll skip posting all of them here (this also gives me an excuse to mix in more interesting efforts for myself :p). Thus, here's a first stab at standardized conditions, including a placeholder for energy drain based on the 3.5E method (without the -5 mHP, since I'd rather replace that by dropping mHP by the damage taken) :
Spoiler: Show

Appendix B: Conditions
The creature can’t see, fails any ability checks requiring sight automatically, has a -4 penalty to AC, and has a -4 penalty to attack rolls.

The creature believes the charmer is a trusted friend and ally to be heeded and protected. The creature follows reasonable instructions or requests from the charmer faithfully (assuming communication is possible). The charmer has a +4 bonus to ability checks for social interaction with the creature.

The creature suffers cumulative penalties based on their level of exhaustion:
Level        Penalties
1            -4 to all ability checks
2            Halved movement speed
3            -4 to all attack rolls and saving throws
4            Halved maximum hit points
5            Movement speed becomes zero
6            Death
The creature can’t hear, fails any ability checks requiring hearing automatically, has a -1 penalty to surprise rolls (unless their other senses are especially keen), and miscasts spells with Verbal components on a 1d20 roll of 4 or less.

The creature suffers a cumulative -1 penalty to all attack rolls and saving throws for each level of draining. The creature’s effective level/Hit Dice is also reduced by 1 for abilities dependent on it, such as spell slots or turning undead (the highest-level class is affected for multi-class/dual class characters). If their effective level/Hit Dice drops below zero, they die.

The creature must flee from the source of its fear at its maximum speed.

The creature’s speed becomes zero, and they can’t benefit from any bonus to their speed.

The creature can’t take actions.

The creature is impossible to see without special senses or magical aid. Opponents reliant on sight are treated as being blinded for the purposes of hiding, targeting, and attack rolls.

The creature can’t move except by hovering, can’t speak, and fails Reflex saving throws automatically. Attack rolls against them hit automatically. The creature can be slain automatically if there is no other fighting occurring.

The creature (including its personal possessions) become inanimate material. They are incapacitated, can’t move, can’t speak, are unaware of their surroundings, and fail Reflex saving throws automatically. They gain resistance to all damage and immunity to poisons and diseases (any affecting them prior to being petrified have their effects suspended). Attack rolls against them hit automatically.

The creature’s only movement options are crawling or standing up (consumes 10 feet of movement to end the condition). They have a -2 penalty to attack rolls. Melee attack rolls against them have a +4 bonus. Ranged attack rolls against them have a -4 penalty.

The creature is grappled and has a -4 penalty to attack rolls and Reflex saving throws. Attack rolls against them have a +4 bonus.

The creature is incapacitated, can’t move, speaks incoherently, and fails Reflex saving throws automatically. Attack rolls against them have a +4 bonus.

The creature is incapacitated and prone, can’t move, can’t speak, is unaware of their surroundings, and fails Reflex saving throws automatically. Attack rolls against them hit automatically. The creature can be slain automatically if there is no other fighting occurring.

Admittedly, that "draining" condition isn't far removed from just doing energy drain as it used to be (in fact, it's more punishing of attack rolls for non-warriors, and I'd suspect it's generally rougher on saving throws as well :LOL:). So why do it differently? It's mostly to avoid taking away XP, both as a psychological trick and as a built-in way of not being able to just "work off" the energy drain by getting new XP from whatever other source.
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ash adler

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Taking a page of the 4E DMG, I thought it'd be good to frame my broad thoughts about what game experience the system is trying to cater to before moving into the more GM-oriented appendices.
Spoiler: Show

Appendix C: Default Setting Assumptions
Below are five core assumptions about the setting that should be examined before applying these rules entirely as written:

  • You are an adventurer. Maybe you wish to tame the wilds for the safety of your brethren. Maybe you wish to prove your might against fantastic adversaries. Maybe you wish to recover lost artifacts for the good of the present, or maybe you see that as an attractive means of gaining power. Whatever your reasons, you left behind a life of mundane trade and labor for something more.
  • The wilderness beyond civilized locales is vast and dangerous. Much of the world is beyond the bounds of any given settlement is unknown. While dangers may lurk in towns as cities as well, they usually pale in comparison to what can be found in the verdant forests, humid swamps, scorching deserts, frigid tundra, and lightless subterranean realms.
  • Magic is uncommon, special, and not entirely understood. All peoples have seen and used magic, such as a priest conjuring water for relief during a drought, a sorcerer swaying an obstinate merchant with an incantation, or a circle of faeries luring off a hunter for a forgotten week. However, formidable spellcasters and powerful magical artifacts are rare. The full nature and scope of magic is beyond comprehension, and many of its applications are either unique efforts or ancient arts lost through the ages.
  • The remains of past civilizations, fallen in ancient history, dot the land, hiding treasure. In distant times past, the world was a different place. Those in power then have fallen, but the bones of their societies remain, often housing some remains of their wealth and crafts. However, if you can overcome the trials therein, the spoils to be claimed may be beyond any in the known world.
  • Success is earned, not promised. Those who rush into situations unprepared may find themselves condemned to a painful and inevitable death, and those who treat all unknowns as threats to be met with lethal force will find the favor returned. Death can come swiftly to the warrior who tries to face down a horde singlehanded or the wizard who takes no precautions against being exposed while weaving spells. However, those who balance their bravery with forethought, and perhaps some fortune, can grow into heroes of epic proportions.

Nothing novel for swords-&-sorcery style dungeon crawling (and it deserves to be more upfront and early instead of tucked away in an appendix in order to be more useful for the people who'd actually benefit from it), but again, it's about having my mind in the right place while working through further stuff.

ash adler

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More supplemental content, covering some guidelines for non-combat challenges and NPC behavior during interactions.
Spoiler: Show

Appendix D: Noncombat Challenges
GMs are encouraged to be creative in coming up with challenges for players, not just relying on constant combat. Below are some sample ideas and suggestions for implementing them.

Puzzles present challenges directly to the players, rather than the characters. Riddles, logic problems, or figuring out the password to pass a guardian construct based on a poem are examples of puzzles.

Puzzle guidelines:
  • If the players don’t like puzzles that require more effort than rolling an Intelligence ability check, don’t try using puzzles.
  • If the PCs use their abilities to bypass solving the puzzle, let them. Those abilities exist for a reason, and you can try to design a more difficult puzzle the next time.
  • Start out with easy puzzles, until you get a sense of the players’ aptitude for solving them.
  • Be careful about using a puzzle that’d ruin the game if it isn’t solved. It’s not necessarily a bad idea, but it shouldn’t be done lightly.
Traps are generally autonomous or simply manipulated defenses. A covered pit, a pressure plate connected to a crossbow, a fire-spewing brazier in a hallway controlled by a lever at the far end, or an ensorcelled threshold that teleports those crossing it into another dimension are examples of traps.

Most traps present some hints of their presence. PCs should be able to notice these during exploring movement (see Chapter 14: Time and Movement).

Talent Trials
Talent trials are scenes that test the PCs’ skills and abilities. While a broad concept, they are best used for cinematic events that have immediate urgency, as situations lacking time pressure can be handled best through normal roleplay. A rooftop chase to catch a thief, attempting to disrupt the progress of a vile magical ritual, or interrogating a dying NPC can all be modeled as talent trials.

The GM decides the number of successful ability checks required to succeed at the scene (3 successes is a normal-difficulty trial, 6+ success is a hard-difficulty trial). The players then describe how they will do something to turn the situation in their favor. If it is a reasonable action, they roll an ability check (modified at the GM's discretion). The GM updates the scene, and the cycle progresses until they reach either the required number of success or 3 failures.

A PC cannot attempt to use the same skill multiple times in a single talent trial, and they must be proficient in a skill to use it. The GM has more discretion with general ability checks but is encouraged to follow a similar approach in order to promote creativity and teamwork. These guidelines may be relaxed somewhat in the case of a talent trial with only 1 or 2 PCs.

Appendix E: NPC Reactions and Morale
In general, the GM should have NPCs behave as befits their motivations, intelligence, and knowledge, along with the circumstances and the impressions given by the PCs. When there is some doubt about their behavior, the GM may use the following sections as guidelines. Situational modifiers used on these tables should be limited to +/-2 at most, pending exceptional circumstances.

Initial Attitude Towards PCs
Roll 2d6+Charisma modifier of the foremost PC and compare to Table 47:

2d6 Roll        Result
2 or less       Attacks or flees immediately
3-5             Hostile
6-8             Cautious
9-11            Indifferent
12+             Friendly
Table 47: NPC Initial Attitude Towards PCs

Reactions to PCs
Roll 2d6+Charisma modifier of the PC leading the interaction and compare to Table 48:

2d6 Roll        Result
2 or less       Very negative (hostile, resolutely uncooperative, etc.)
3-5             Swayed negatively
6-8             Neutral (prompt for further input)
9-11            Swayed positively
12+             Very positive (friendly, openly helpful, etc.)
Table 48: NPC Reactions

Morale in Combat
Players are always in control of their PC’s actions, excepting magical influence. Hirelings accompanying the PCs do not check morale during encounters unless exposed to far greater danger than anticipated, although they generally withdraw if seriously injured and refuse to place their lives at risk (at the GM’s discretion). However, they should check morale when returning to a safe place, adjusted by their employer’s Charisma modifier. A failure indicates that they refuse to accompany the PC on further adventures.

Creatures opposed to the PCs should check for morale after losing one member (to death or incapacitation) and after losing half of their members. Roll 2d6 (either individually or for a collective group, at the GM’s discretion) and compare to the creature’s morale rating (see Appendix H: Bestiary for details). If the result is higher than the creature’s morale rating, it will attempt to surrender or retreat (either by tactical withdrawal or fully breaking and fleeing), as befits the creature.

Note that morale checks and situational modifiers only apply to creatures with 3-11 morale. Creatures with 2 morale always retreat upon being threatened, and creatures with 12 morale never retreat.

If the creature is cornered or otherwise unable to retreat, it may either surrender or fight out of desperation, as befits the creature.

Talent trials are very much inspired by 4E skill challenges, with a few tweaks. Personally, I like to be explicit about when they're happening, because I don't think the gamist aspect of it is any more immersion-breaking than structured combat, but to each their own.

The bestiary includes formulae for conversion of various morale scales to a 2d6 system. I have 3d8, 1d20, and d% in there. Any other common scales that'd be good to include?
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