Character Skills

In newer versions of D&D and Pathfinder they each have a skill list. Contrary to popular belief this is not a new idea. Skills go all the way back to the original D&D in the form of Thief skills. I propose that skills are integrated into Simple DnD in a more uniform manner. Skill based characters (Assassin, Grifter, Ranger and Thief) would be completely replaced with the new class, just called Rogue, and allowing the players to customize their characters as they see fit.

Each rogue would choose 6 of the following skills and distribute 24 points between them:

Skill List:

  • Animal Handling
  • Climbing
  • Contacts
  • Crafting: Disguise, Poison, Tinker, Traps (choose) one slot per
  • Deceive
  • Disable Devices
  • Intimidate
  • Investigate
  • Linguistics
  • Lore
  • Sleight of Hand
  • Stealth
  • Tracking
  • Use Magic Devices
  • Will Power

At each level up the player would gain 3 additional points to distribute. New skills can be acquired at the cost of 6 skill points and would start at 1.  With one additional skill added at each 5 levels.

Class Build Outs

A thief would know: Climbing, Crafting: Traps, Disable Devices, Investigate, Stealth and Use Magic Devices

An assassin would know: Climbing, Contacts, Crafting: Poison, Intimidate, Tracking and Stealth

A grifter would know: Contacts, Deceive, Intimidate, Lore, Stealth and Will Power

A ranger would know: Animal Handling, Climbing, Investigate, Lore, Stealth and Tracking

Let me know your thoughts and ideas in the comments below!



Hit Points vs Damage System

As many of you know, I work on a number of different systems. I am a frequent GM for Fate Core, D6 Star Wars and even Savage Worlds in addition to other non-rpg board games. One of the things that always seems to bog down our D&D sessions is the combat grind. Turn after turn of rolling d20 and deducting points. While this can lead to some additional drama, more times than not it just bores the pants off of me. So what can be done to improve the speed of the combat round while still keeping the drama of that natural 20?

Enter the damage system.

All of the other games I GM have a system of damage that consists of multiple “steps” that drag your player down closer to death. Typically it’s three steps: Wounded, Incapacitated, and Taken Out. I really like this, but how can it be worked in a D&D type system?

I think that it’s a matter of adjusting how damage is applied to the player or monster.

Rolling to hit.

To hit an opponent we roll d20 and add modifiers vs the target’s Armor Class (AC). That’t still good – the ability to adjust how hard to hit something works.

Rolling damage needs to change.

Roll the damage for the weapon (ex: 1d8) and then compare it to the target’s strength. So if a Ogre has a +4 to strength so any roll over 4 would result in a wound, whereas a rat with a strength of +1 would wound automatically if hit. This would keep with the paradigm that rats are easier to kill than ogres. It also would allow for damage to scale automatically without changing anything else. A two handed sword does 2d6 damage and it much more likely to kill a monster with one hit that a dagger. It works.

The OpenD6 system has a great scale for damage. It allows for the amount over the target’s strength to cause addition issues. I also like this. It allows for high damage rolls to really kill things fast (as they should).


Amount over Strength

Amount Over Status Effect
1-3 Stunned -1 to all rolls next round actions only
4-8 Wounded -1 to all rolls until healed
9-12 Incapacitated / Severely Wounded CON Save or become unconscious. Success you become Severely Wounded: -3 to all rolls until healed
13+ Mortally Wounded CON Save or Death. Success you become Mortally Wounded: -5 to all rolls until healed

If the player is already wounded once, then the second wound would would penalize the character with a -2 to all rolls until healed. If they’re wounded again, treat that wound as a Severe / Incapacitated wound. If it happens after that, then treat it as a mortal wound.

If the player is already stunned and get’s stunned again – then stack the stunned penalty. A player can be stunned as many times as they have strength with a minimum of once. If they get stunned after that, then they become unconscious for 1d6 rounds.

Any additional wounds are automatically upgrade to the Incapacitated / Severely Wounded level, save accordingly.

Soaking Damage

The final piece of the puzzle is a way for HEROIC saves to happen. I propose a CON check (or use the monster’s hit dice as the bonus) to halve the damage roll (rounded up). This would represent the ability for heroes to shrug off attacks. Creatures that are resistant to certain types of damage would automatically get half damage.

Final Run Through

Player Attacks. Roll d20 + bonus > Target Armor Class (AC)

if hit, then roll the weapon’s damage  (ex: 1d8 + str for a sword) and find the difference between the roll and the target’s strength.

if the difference is greater than zero, then defender rolls CON Save 10 to reduce the number by half (AKA the Soak)

Finally compare final number to chart above to see the effect


So what do you think?

Does this make sense? Would it speed up combat? Post a comment below and let me know.



D100 Things That Are In Pockets

1 3 SPs 51 Small petrified head
2 False teeth  52 Feather from rare bird
3 Obscured treasure map 53 A couple of small round stones
4 Love letter 54 Loose tea in a leather pouch
5 Small silver dagger 55 Gold bracelet (30 GPs)
6 A set of rusty keys 56 A wool cap
7 Pocket lint 57 A piece of moldy cheese
8 A flint & steel  58 A note regarding a merchant caravan needing guards
9 A tent peg 59 A four leafed clover
10 A set of strings for a lute 60 A pair of smelly socks with holes in them
11 A few crushed herbs 61 Small bottle containing yellow liquid
12 Small change purse, no gold 62 The bill of a duck
13 A needle and thread 63 A morbid shopping list (random body parts)
14 Small whetstone 64 A sash with a skull embroidered on it
15 3 beans 65 A book detailing the rise and fall of an old empire
16 Lyrics and music to a song 66 A set of glowing large stones
17 Small cracked mirror 67 A bloodied rag
18 Small finger trap (1d4 damage) 68 Hair clip
19 A few wooden puzzle pieces  69 A fishing hook and some line
20 Carved pipe 70 Small hand tools
21 Contract for murder 71 A severed finger
22 A rabbits foot 72 Necklace with green stone
23 Leather sling 73 A bag of seeds
24 1 six sided dice 74 A small rolled up tapestry depicting a battle scene
25 A religious symbol 75 A small rodent (1d4 damage bite)
26 Small book with poems 76 A vial containing slime that is moving
27 Brass ring 77 Belt buckle
28 3 playing cards 78 A promissory note for gold
29 Bottle of poison 79 A handkerchief
30 A children’s toy top 80 A letter detailing a plot to overthrow the local government
31 Bits of leather straps 81 A gold piece with a hole drilled thru it
32 Small bone statue of an elk 82 A recipe for mead
33 Letter of acceptance into a mage’s school 83 A knuckle bone
34 Blue crystal 84 Bits of gold thread (5 SPs)
35 Arrow head 85 Hand paper fan
36 Purple ladies gloves 86 A potion of healing
37 A spell book containing 3 – 1st level spells 87 Small water pouch
38 10 CPs 88 A pair of rose coloured glasses
39 A tooth from a large cat 89 A torn parchment
40 Leather key chain with no keys 90 Dagger +1
41 A letter from a local lord 91 A ring of invisibility
42 A jar of mysterious salve 92 A broken hilt from a sword
43 A few chicken bones 93 A map to a city underground
44 The eye of a monster 94 Tobacco rolled in a large leaf
45 A note about taxes being overdue 95 A scroll containing a 1st level spell
46 Wine cork 96 A small metal sundial
47 Small telescope/sextant 97 Hand drawn picture of a lonely cave entrance
48 Nail file 98 Keys to a local tavern
49 Comb 99 Vial of oil for a lantern
50 Folded piece of cloth with a wolf embroidered on it 00 A broken candle

Special thanks to 3 Toadstools Publishing

D100 Mildly Plausible Background Stories For Characters

1 Mentor was killed in an explosion 51 Swindled a high ranking mage/thief
2 Father was beheaded 52 Grew up on an island far from civilization
3 Sister kidnapped by Demon 53 Bandit, refused to participate in a raid
4 Home town destroyed 54 Drowned a family member
5 Lost all gold in bad bet 55 Warlord
6 Wanted for murder 56 Found a long forgotten sword in a stone
7 Twin sibling taken at birth 57 Court jester
8 Empath, had to leave society 58 Grew up in a monastery in the outskirts
9 Left barbarian tribe wanted more 59 Family were witch hunters
10 Father was a notorious thief 60 Re-roll twice and add both together
11 Shunned by the gods 61 Sworn to keep an important secret
12 Miner, caused accident 62 Reincarnated fortune teller
13 Horrible hunter, nearly starved 63 Mother was killed by large beast
14 Parents killed by a thug 64 Escaped a prison
15 The last of an order (religious, thieves) 65 Borrowed a large spell book didn’t return
16 False prophet 66 Designed war machines
17 Made pact with witch 67 Parents killed by pirates
18 Grew up an orphan begging on streets 68 Prince/Princess of noble house
19 Teleported from a different world/time 69 Trained by a master in their class
20 Father was a renowned mercenary 70 Brewer of fine ales & wines
21 Locked in a tower for years 71 Tasked with cleanup of disease
22 Apprentice to a trade 72 An assassin
23 Father sold out traitors to lord 73 Town hero destroyed an evil threat
24 Wizard’s experimental subject 74 Survived dragon attack, with scars
25 Veteran of a war 75 Slave
26 Runaway 76 Skilled Artist
27 Story collector & teller 77 Sailor who caused a mutiny
28 Traveling merchant 78 Squire to evil knight
29 Humble villager, didn’t cause much trouble, and never went on any adventures. 79 Previously a merman/woman, turned by wizard
30 Re-roll twice and add both together 80 Plagued by ghosts
31 Caught someone doing something bad 81 Amnesia, don’t remember a thing
32 Remembers all past lives 82 Exiled because of previous mistakes
33 Set on a religious pilgrimage 83 Grew up in nature with only animals
34 Ransomed as a prisoner of war 84 Born with wings
35 Famer 85 Ran an illegal gambling den/bawdy house
36 Born with facial scarring and a tail, shunned 86 Woke up in a different reality
37 Stole a large sum of gold 87 Fisherman/woman
38 Temple from hometown burned, did nothing 88 Hung for treason, brought back from the dead
39 Started a riot 89 Arsonist
40 Guard/Solider AWOL from post 90 Debts from addiction
41 Family were prospectors, lost map to mine 91 Kidnapped a high lord/lady, ransomed.
42 Barkeep 92 The bastard son/daughter of a lord
43 Smuggler 93 Deposed king
44 Immigrant from a foreign land 94 Dreams of the “end of days”
45 Concubine to the king/queen 95 Led rebellion against local government
46 Born from a union with a vampire 96 Arm’s dealer
47 Family were cavemen, smartest of the bunch 97 Betrothed to a ugly noble
48 Lewd painter 98 Born blind, other sense heightened
49 Scribe for a local priest/wizard 99 Wandering minstrel
50 Alchemist’s apprentice 0 Cartographer

Special thanks to 3 Toadstools Publishing –

D100 Table Of Crypts, Tombs, And Mausoleums

Add some randomness to your next adventure with the D100 Table Of Crypts, Tombs, And Mausoleums. So the next time you need to send your players of to find something in a mysterious crypt, but can’t think of an intriguing name for it, try one of these.  The Skull Crypt of the Incinerating Monkey anyone?

Screenshot 2016-07-26 08.12.24
Click here to download the PDF.

Thanks to John R. Lehman for letting us include in the project. Go visit his blog here!

10 Best D&D blogs to follow in 2016

Here are my top 10 best D&D blogs that I follow. They have guides, stories, maps, resources, adventures and so much more. There is so much useful content for both Dungeon Masters and Players on the web it is just crazy. So if you’re a DM or a PC and you play Dungeons & Dragons, then this is the list you should check out.

  1. Death by Mage
  2. That’s How I Role-(Play)
  3. Critical Hits Show
  4. Newbie DM
  5. Red Dice Diaries
  6. Matthew Lowes
  7. The Angry GM
  8. Dungeon’s Master
  9. Blog of Holding
  10. Greyhawk Grognard

What other Dungeons & Dragons blogs should be included in this best of the web list? Post your answers in the comments below!

Suggestions from readers include: