Religion in SimpleDnd

Religious options for your Fantasy RPG

The original edition in the 1970s contained 17 pantheons of gods. We don’t prescribe to any of them in this rule set by default, but encourage DMs to choose whatever fits their game the best.

Goblin Raiders

Adventure for SimpleDnD

goblin-raiders-mapMap by Daniel F. Walthall @Axebane

Introduction

This adventure is designed to teach dungeon exploration to a new group of players. While the story is cliche, it is a good starting point to introduce low level monsters and situations and really the adventure starts at the cellar doors. 

This adventure is designed for a group of 5 players and one Dungeon Master – at the end the party should have gained enough experience to advance to level 2 or 3. It should take about 1-2 hours to complete. If you are new to SimpleDnD check out Playing the Game for a quick overview.

If you are NOT the Dungeon Master, STOP READING NOW. There is information in the adventure that is secret and for the Dungeon Master’s eyes only. I strongly recommend the Dungeon Master read through the DM’ing basics found here.

I recommend you read through the entire adventure before running it. There are rules dispersed throughout the locations.  On the formatting, items inside boxes or italicized are to be read to players, bolded items are rules or checks, lines with a grey bar to the left are stat blocks for monsters – except for the read aloud text, everything else (including the map) is for the DM’s eyes only.

Much needed caravans between Cresthaven and Darkwood have suddenly been the target of vicious goblin raiders. Recent scouts have reported seeing goblins by the Ruins of Darramoka. Heroes are desperately needed to investigate the ruins and possibly eliminate the goblin threat. Can you be those heroes, or are you content to remain in obscurity?

Quick note on Heroic Points. Everyone gets 3, even the DM. Learn about them using them here.

The adventure begins as the party approach the ruins.

You follow the old path to the gates of what was once a large manor house. Now all that remains is a burned out shell and two stone doors that lead down into the cellar. The ruins still seem to smolder as if something is burning deep below the ground.

1. Cellar Doors

Heavy stone doors. The doors to the cellar are closed and extremely heavy. Lifting the doors requires an Ability check (DC 10 vs Strength) to open. 

Ability Check: Roll d20 and add your Strength Ability Score and, if you have one,  your Ability Focus for that Ability Score. If it is equal to or greater than the target DC you find something.

Team Check: If the whole party tries lifting the doors you can use the teamwork rule: Attempting an action collectively allows for one check (non-combat), using the highest player’s ability score (with ability focus) AND advantage (roll 2d20 take the highest). If the check fails no additional attempt may be made by anyone in the party until somebody in the party goes up a level.

Upon lifting the large stone doors, finely carved stone stairs lead down in the cellar of this once rich manor house. The chamber opens into a large space lit from above by a single oil lantern. At the far end of the room is a door that is barred with four heavy stone blocks.

This room is a puzzle and requires four of the PCs to compress pressure plates in the floor at the exact same time to unlock the door. A successful search DC10 will locate the pressure plates and through trial and error they should be able to figure out the sequence.

2. Goblin Lookout

Upon entering you are jumped by a swarm of short, ugly humanoids that stand just over 3 feet tall. Their scrawny bodies are topped with oversized and hairless heads with massive ears and beady red eyes. Goblins! With a high pitched screech they attack the party!

The goblins are open to negotiations and bribery…

Negotiate: Roll d20 and add the combined Charisma bonus of the party. Results: 

  • 1-3 Immediately Attack
  • 4-10 roll again and subtract 5
  • 11-16 roll again add 5
  • 17-20 Friendly / Receptive

Goblins (7): AC 13, HP 3, Damage 1d6 -1, Morale 5
Loot: 2d6 silver each. One of the goblins has an iron necklace with 5 holes in a star pattern.

Morale Check. When a creature drops below 50% of their hit points they must make a morale check (Target DC 20 vs d20 + monster morale) or become broken.  If the last attack was with a natural 20, then the check is made with Disadvantage.

Broken combatants have two options:

1. Flee the combat.  Move away from combat at double normal movement speed. If a player character (or monster) has a ranged weapon readied in hand, they can make one free attack against the fleeing monster.

2. Surrender the combat. Literally throw down their arms and plead for their lives.

Searching: Roll d20 and add your Wisdom bonus and, if you have one,  your search bonus. If it is equal to or greater than the search DC you find something.

Team Search: If the whole party searches you can use the teamwork rule: Attempting an action collectively allows for one check (non-combat), using the highest player’s ability bonus AND advantage (roll 2d20 take the highest). If the check fails no additional attempt may be made by anyone in the party until somebody in the party goes up a level.

A successful search (DC 15) will reveal a secret door in the eastern wall. The secret door leads to a cache of weapons (mostly rusted out and broken short swords) if the search roll is 20 or higher, then the party finds a Long Sword +1.

3. Dining Room

This 25′ x 15′ room has a large marble fireplace in the eastern wall. A long, bare, wooden table runs the length of the room with 8 wooden chairs, 3 on each side and one at each end. Sitting in the end chairs, and two chairs on each side, are human skeletons dressed in rags.   They are sitting upright, but do not move. In front of each chair sits a golden goblet and dusty flatware.

If any character touches a gold goblet will discover that the “gold” goblets are actually tin, covered with yellow mold!

Yellow Mold: These molds are smaller than normal. For each goblet touched, roll d20: if the result is 10 or less, the mold releases a small cloud of spores, catching only the character disturbing the goblet. The victim takes 1d4 points of damage and must make a Save DC 11 vs Constitution or start choking, unable to do anything else for d6 rounds.

4. Oh No!

This room has two doors one to the west and one east. On the walls by the doors are four small round holes burrowed into the stone. Upon the last party member passing through the door into this room the door immediately slams shut trapping the party. From the top of the room, water begins to fill the chamber. Already the water is starting to pool!

The holes in the walls are actually an elaborate trap placed by the original owner of this ruin. In each hole are 5 stones in a pattern. Each stone lines up with the holes on the necklace from the goblins in area 2. Each time the players chose a hole and place the necklace, roll d20. On a roll of 10 or less, the necklace doesn’t fit and the room begins to fill faster. Start a timer and if the party doesn’t sort out the trap in 5 minutes the room fills up and they all drown.

5. Beware!

This room has a barred and locked door leading into it. Upon it is a crudely carved sign with hard to read writing. 

The room is locked with a padlock (DC12 to pick) and the sign says, “Shh, the babies are sleeping!” in Goblin. The babies are actually two giant spiders (each about the size of a small car).

Reading Languages. If the character cannot read Goblin, a thief can make a Read Languages check (DC12) to understand the message.

Picking Locks. Locks may only be tried once per lock, and only if “Thieves Tools” are carried. The thief may not try again with that lock until gaining another Level of Experience.

UPON opening the door read:

This large chamber is covered in thick sticky strands of silk. There is a clear path to the center, but the corners are unreachable. 

ROLL FOR SURPRISE

Roll for surprise: DM roll d20 (+4 because Spiders get a bonus) vs the highest party notice. If the DM roll is equal to, or more than the notice, then the party is surprised and the monsters get a round to attack without the party attacking back.

If the party is successful read on, else the spiders attack with a free combat round.

Movement immediately catches your eye as two giant spiders descend from the ceiling and attack! Roll for initiative.

Giant Spider (2): AC 14, HP 10, Bite 1d8 (DC 10 vs Constitution or become poisoned).  Morale 5

Special attack: Web. Anyone attacked with web must make a DC10 vs Dexterity or become immobilized by the web. 

Immobilized – You cannot move on your own: your Speed is 0.

Poison – DC 10 vs Constitution or die in 1d6 rounds

Loot: There is a pouch in the spider’s web with 2d8 gold pieces as well as a silver necklace (worth 50 gold pieces)

6. Nest

Thick smoke fills the top of this room as a number of disgusting goblins lounge around on piles of straw and filth. Some sort of animal is roasting over a small campfire in the center of the room.

This is an EXCELLENT opportunity for the party to ambush the goblins. They’re too preoccupied with cooking to notice the party come in.

Ambush: Roll d20 and add the lowest Wisdom modifier in the party to establish the party’s hide DC. DM roll d20 – equal or greater than the party DC means the ambush fails. If successful the party gets one round of attacks without the DM taking any actions.

Goblins (7): AC 13, HP 3, Damage 1d6 -1, Morale 5

Loot: 2d6 silver each.

Goblin stash. 1 small silver key, and a locked metal box (DC15 to unlock and DC 10 vs Search to detect the poison needle trap). The box contains 4,000 copper pieces, 3,000 silver pieces, and 4 potions of healing (restores 1d8 Hit Points each)

The metal box is trapped with poison. Poison is DC 10 vs Constitution or die in 1d6 rounds.

7. Audience Chamber

This extremely large chamber is brightly lit by metal torches lining the walls. At the far end the floor is raised with a large stone throne in the middle. Just in front is a round table with five large, muscled humanoid creatures with  dull green skin, coarse dark hair, beady red eyes, and protruding, tusk-like teeth. As the door closes by itself behind the party, the creatures stop the dice game they’re playing and look up at the party. The biggest of the bunch, an all white monster, speaks out to the party, “Well well well… what do we have here?!?” 

These orcs are more intelligent than the monsters encountered thus far. They are willing to talk and negotiate with the party. 

Orc (4): AC 13, HP 7, Attack +2, Damage 1d8 +2, Morale 12

Orc individuals have 1d6 silver pieces on them.

Exit to the west and HIDDEN DOOR (DC15 Search) in the eastern wall. Hidden room contains 1,000 silver pieces, 4 gems (value 60 gp each), diamond necklace and matching earrings (100 gp), and 6 potions (unidentified keep their function secret) – 1 giant strength, 2 of water breathing, 2 of cure poison and 1 of invisibility. 

Unidentified Magic Items. Magic Items and Potions can be identified by a qualified magic user, typically in town at a cost of 1GP each. Potions have a single use and testing them will use them up.

The Ending

After packing all of your hard earned loot you return to town and the town elders greet you with a magnificent feast to celebrate. Looks like you were born to be an adventurer!

Now it’s time to distribute experience points and money. Each of the players should receive at least 2,000 experience points for clearing the dungeon plus 1 experience point for each gold piece of loot value collected. Don’t forget to reward exceptional roleplaying and good  thinking with bonus XP.

Two New Options: Notice and Heroics

Neither of these should be a big shock, but I am implementing two new items in the DM’s toolkit. The rest of the docs will be updated shortly as will the character sheet. – A

Notice

This number is for every character. It is set default to the Character’s Wisdom (with the Ability Focus if focused in Wisdom) plus 10.

ex: Brother Eisenhorne is a 3rd level cleric with a +3 in Wisdom. His Notice would be set to: 15 (wisdom + focus +10)

Notice is used when you’re not actively searching for something. It’s basically a measure of how situationally aware you are. The players don’t use their Notice, the DM does. The DM will use this number as the DC for any checks which the character is not specifically looking for. This includes: hearing noises, seeing hiding monsters, as a DC for surprise, spotting hidden doors or noticing something that would normally miss. Players can still actively search as normal which may result in better scores.

Heroics

Each session to which player attends earns them 1 heroic point that remains with the character. Extra heroics can be awarded by the DM for the playing doing something special or innovative in the game. I’ve been know to award these for a great plan, being in character, and even for an awesome battle result. Note Heroic Points can be used for ANY role for ANY player (even the DM). Think of it as the way the players can DM can adjust the story.

The players can then choose to trade there Heroics for the following:

  • Plan Ahead. Before rolling, add advantage.
  • Redo! After any dice roll, force a reroll and keep the new roll result
  • Attack Again! An additional action in a combat round
  • Healing Surge! Spend one Heroic Point and roll your hit dice and heal yourself that amount.

Player’s characters should use these points at times of drama (or whenever they want), but we’ve found that they add a great BOOM just at the right moment. Something like that critical attack that slays the dragon or talking their way out of trouble with the city guard.

Playing Dungeons and Dragons with Kids

I was recently invited to my kids 3rd grade classroom to demonstrate  Dungeons and Dragons. I knew that 5th edition was not going to be a good option, as I only had about an hour to teach and run the game, and I needed to rethink how I was going to present the information to the kids so that they would understand and be ready to play. I run across the same issue with adults who are new to the game as well. They don’t understand the concept of an open world that they are in control of. Here’s how I went about it.

SimpleDnD System

The SimpleDnD system is designed to be consistent and simple, it’s in the name, once I explained the key concept, roll d20, add modifiers and go. The kids rapidly picked up on how to do things, and unlike Pathfinder or D&D 5e, there was not complexity on how to do things. Nothing had to be dumbed down or changed to accommodate the 3rd graders at all. What I especially like about the system is going from SimpleDnD to Pathfinder or D&D 5e is a straight upgrade.

Pre-generated Characters

I printed out the provided pre-generated characters and provided them to the group playing. I introduced the characters in a very clear and descriptive way. Something like, “This is the Elf Wizard. How many of you know what an elf is? Anyone seen the Lord of the Rings?” Once the kids heard that they were all super excited about the prospect of playing an Elf. I only had to run through the things that made each character special, like the elf being able to cast a few spells. Once I introduced everyone, I let the kids choose which character they wanted to be.

Adventure Time!

The adventure I brought with me was an introductory adventure, Ruins of Castle Mystamere, from the 1983 red box that was updated for the SimpleDnD system. It had pauses and tips on when to ask the party to do things and the kids ate it up. Once they understood how to move around, interact and fight they were having a great time. While they started out rushing into things, their attitudes changed once they encountered something dangerous and started getting hurt or put to sleep.

Team Work and in Character Actions

As a Dungeon Master, I have a story I want to tell, but at the same time I really pushed the kids to discuss their options and then have one child tell me what the party would do. By forcing them to talk through where they were going or what they wanted to do next, it help to eliminate a lot of confusion.

Individually when they would ask questions like, can my character do this or that, and I would put it back on them to be the character and try. Always pushing them to see the game through their characters eyes, “What would an elf do?!?” Ultimately they need to try to do things, I can always say “No”.

Teach Feedback

After the game the teacher was extremely excited about the outcome. She commented on how the kids worked together, how they troubleshooted issues and the choices they made in the game. She also very much enjoyed the way the kids creatively made the story their own and how it used the things they were learning (story writing, math and critical thinking) in a practical application.

Conclusion

I highly recommend you start role-playing games with your kids starting as soon as they can do basic math. It helps to build their imagination, confidence and critical thinking skills. The teacher even came up to me after the demo and was talking about how she would have reacted to situations and how exciting it was. The class was really split 50/50 on being interested, but those that were talked about it for days after I came in. I have been invited back to run another game, hopefully it will be the start of something special for my kids.

Random Dungeon Generators

You know I love to keep things simple around here *wink*. While this doesn’t alway happen, I do want to play all the time. So to keep the game flowing I propose using a random dungeon to get the level started. You’d still need to read through it, add monster stats and story elements, but overall it is an excellent starting point.

The one I really enjoy is the DonJon one here. I use the Pathfinder version, it adds some nice traps and is pre-baked with DC checks that work out of the box. So if you are looking for a way to DM and do it in a quick way, make sure you add DonJon to your bookmarks!

Check out the Crypt of the Everflame SimpleDnD conversion post for details on how to use Pathfinder DC checks in SimpleDnD.

Which tools do you use to quickly generate a dungeon? Post a comment below!

Sample Generated Dungeon

To create these 4 levels took me about 5 minutes. It’s like 4 different game sessions worth of material.

Adventure Hook

While eating at Local Tavern, the PCs learn that Bad Guy has stolen Very Important Thing and taken it to an Abandoned Keep. If they return the item, Helpful NPC will reward them with Glorious Treasure

Abandoned Keep – Level 1

Keep Basement – Level 2

Keep Catacombs – Level 3

Keep Sub Catacombs – Level 4

Druid

Draft class under development.

Laurelinde – Elf Druid by GoddessVirage

Druids share a belief in the fundamentally spiritual nature of life and avoid choosing any one conception of Deity, believing that by its very nature this is unknowable by the mind. All Druids sense Nature as divine or sacred. Every part of nature is sensed as part of the great web of life, with no one creature or aspect of it having supremacy over any other. In doing this they pull their magical powers from the very living world around them.

Ability Focus: Wisdom

Hit Points: d6

Races Allowed: Human and Faun

Restrictions: Druids cannot use any metal weapon or armor

Special: Spell Casting for spells, scroll down for druid spells.

Special: At 4th level Druids can shape shift into the form of an animal once per day. Druid players should pick one animal and that will always be their form. This shifted animal will be roughly the size of the character even if the animal is tiny.

Special: Druids CANNOT read magic. Their power comes from their close connection to the earth.

Special: Druids can Turn or Befriend Animals

Turn or Befriend Animals

Much like a cleric, the Druid can repel or befriend animals. When an animal is encountered, the character should roll at d20 and all their Wisdom (and focus) vs a DC of 16 plus the number animals Hit Dice. If the result is equal or greater the animals are turned away or calmed. Magical animals (like owlbears, griffins, etc) add +2 to the DC of the roll. If the roll exceeds the required DC by 5 the animal can be befriended. Calmed animals will not interact with the druid and will calmly move away from the party. Befriended animals on the other hand will follow the druid, guarding and assisting within its capabilities so long as the druid remains in the general vicinity of its normal lair or range.

Druid Spells

Zero Level

1st Level

2nd Level

3rd Level

4th Level

5th Level

6th Level

7th Level

8th Level

9th Level

Encounter Round Clarifications and Revisions

I’ve been reading up on G+ about encounters and how they are supposed to play out in the game vs how we actually play them when we play. Currently our round goes like this: roll initiative, do stuff, repeat. Seems I’ve been doing it all wrong and it’s actually much more broken out than that.

This is how I propose changing it:

Pre-Round Actions – Surprise or Encounter Reaction

1. Declare Party Actions (Negotiate, Combat or Flee)

Fleeing an encounter allows for the non-fleeing group to make one attack (spell or ranged only) at a +2 bonus

If combat is declared or already happening, continue to #2

If there is anyone who takes ongoing damage or spell effects then deal the damage or effect during this part.

2. Declare Character Actions (Melee Attack, Range Attack, Spells, Move)

3. Roll Initiative – d20, highest to lowest order

4. Combat Move then attack

Movement, note: spell casters cannot move and cast spells, unless the spells is zero level

Move move up to your characters speed only if you are not already engaged in melee combat, if they are in melee combat…

Moving in combat there are two options:

Fighting Withdrawal – character moves slowly backwards at half speed and out of melee combat with that opponent for next round. Opponent and character can make one attack as normal this round, if the opponent’s attack is successful, the withdrawal has failed.

Retreat – character moves quickly backwards at full speed and out of melee range for this round and cannot attack. Opponent can make one attack with advantage this round.

Attack! 

Ranged attacks – Arrows, Slings, Throwing stuff

Spells

Melee attacks

Next combatant Move to next player in the initiative order (next highest) and begin the combat again with movement and attacking.

5. Morale checks are made

6. Go to #1 Declare Party Actions and Repeat until the encounter is resolved

What do you think?

How do you run your RPG encounters? Do you do it all at once, or in phases? Post a comment below and let me know!