Monday, May 25, 2015

Monster Monday: Mantis Shrimp - The Fastest Claws in the Sea

Today's Monster Monday is the giant mantis shrimp, a man-sized version of the little rainbow-colored tropical shrimp that can punch so fast they boil the water around their claws and create a shockwave, and whose eyes are so good they can see colors we can't even imagine.

photo by prilfish from Vienna, Austria, via Wikimedia
If you've been on the internet in the last few years, you may have noticed a growing interest in these fascinating, terrifying, badass little rainbow murder shrimp.  Now you can bring that interest to your gaming table!

photo by SSR2000, via Wikimedia

The following text in gold is available as Open Game Content under the OGL. Open Game Content is ©2015 Jonah Bomgaars.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Initiative Tracker: Manage Encounters with One Simple Sheet

Download the PDF HERE.  Works with Pathfinder, D&D, and probably other d20 RPGs.

There are tons of ways to track your players' initiative in combat, from note cards to apps to those cool magnetic dry-erase boards.  I tend to write it all down on a sheet of notebook paper, but recently I've been thinking I could do better.  This initiative tracker (available as an easily printable PDF from the above link) is a cleaner, sleeker version of what I've been writing down in my grubby old notebook.  It's what I'll be using from now on, and I thought I should let you have it too, if you want.

There are slots for twelve different characters.  This may seem like a lot, but it leaves plenty of extra room for cohorts, animal companions, mounts, and recurring DMPCs.

I like having the Armor Class of each character written down so I don't have to bog down combat asking "Does a 19 hit your AC?"  Now I can just roll, check the table, and say, "The wadjet sinks its deadly fangs into your flesh, and you feel its poison coursing through your veins.  Make a Fort save."  The Temporary AC section (much like the one on my advanced character sheet) lets you make note of a raging barbarian's lessened AC, a wizards mage armor, or what-have-you.

Similarly, having each character's Perception bonus written down lets you make secret rolls for your players if you don't want to tip them off that something is amiss.

The Notes section is where I would record ongoing effects like diseases, poison, or conditions.  Or whatever else needs keeping track of.

I also like to keep track of my players' XP so I don't have to worry about them forgetting to write down their XP from a session.  Plus, it lets me calculate the XP they got from the session after they've all left, instead of taking up game time telling everyone how much XP they got at the end of every encounter.

Below the 'characters' section is a place to record the monsters and their Initiative scores, and to keep a running tally of their HP.

Of to the right is a big blank space for more notes.  This is where I would jot down the XP value of every monster defeated (to be tallied up and divided later).  For a big battle that I expect to take a while, I will also write down all the characters and monsters in their proper initiative order because I don't own one of those cool magnetic dry-erase board initiative trackers.

-your initiative-taking d20 despot

Monday, May 11, 2015

Rainbow Domain - Prismatic Priests and Dazzling Druids

Heimdall an der Himmelsbrücke by Emil Doepler, via Wikimedia
What do Heimdal, Renly Baratheon, and Kermit the Frog have in common? They all know the power of rainbows.  The mystery and splendor of the rainbow has inspired countless myths across the world.  In Norse mythology, the rainbow bridge connects the realm of the gods to the realm of men.  In Judeo-Christian tradition, the rainbow is the visual sign of the pact between God and Noah never to flood the earth again.  To the Australian aborigines, the rainbow serpent is a primordial creator deity that provides both fertility and disease.  With so many divine rainbow connections, it only seems right to have the option for a rainbow domain.

And since rainbows are also natural phenomena, it also makes sense to offer the rainbow domain to druids as part of their nature bond ability.  In fact, I would be lying if I said that my original intent was not to allow the creation of terrifying rainbow-blasting druids.

The following material given in gold text is available as Open Game Content under the OGL.  Open Game Content is ©2015 Jonah Bomgaars.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Just Married

Hi, all! There won't be a post this week because I just got married!  In place of a post, please accept this picture of myself and my wife dressed as Beric Dondarrion and Margaery Tyrell:

-your married d20 despot