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.



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


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)

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.


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 and awesome battle result.

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

  • Before rolling, add advantage.
  • After any dice roll, force a reroll and keep the new roll result
  • An additional action in a combat round

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.

Turning Undead

A cleric has the power to force away certain category of monsters called the “Undead” (skeletons, zombies, ghouls, mummies, and other more powerful types). To use this ability, the play must only declare that they shall “Turn Undead” and be within 30 feet of the monsters.

What is Turned?

Turned undead flee by the fastest means available to them. They will not touch the  cleric, and will flee as far from them as possible. If they cannot flee, they cower.

If anyone, other than the turning cleric, approaches the undead within 10 feet will cause the undead to immediately overcome their repulsion and the undead will attack as normal.

All attacks made by the cleric vs turned undead are made at Advantage.

Effects of turning last for 1 minute (10 rounds).

How Does It Work?

The base roll to turn undead is 10 + the hit dice of the monster. So a Skeleton would have a turn value of 11. The cleric then rolls d20 and adds their Wisdom (and focus) to effect the undead. The cleric would make this check vs each undead within the 30 foot range.

Destroying Undead

To destroy the undead, rather than turn them, the cleric must exceed the target number of 15 + the hit dice of the monster.



Combat – Expanded

SimpleDnD thus far has been about simple hand-to-hand combat. Your character stands toe to toe with a monster and they slug it out. There is more to combat! Listed below are additional rules to add to your games. If you have additional ideas, please post in the comments!

Full Dodge

The PC can give up their next attack and roll 1D20 +Dexterity and compare it to the attackers hit roll. If the roll is equal to or greater than the attack roll, the attack misses due to a full dodge.

Range Attack

All weapons have 3 ranges. Short, Medium and Long. Depending on the distance to the target apply these modifiers.

  • Short Range: +1 to hit
  • Medium Range: No modifier
  • Long Range: -4 to hit


Cover can be classified as any obstacle that blocks the target from view. This could be bushes, boulders, boxes, smoke, etc. There are two types of cover, light cover where at least 50% of the target is covered or full cover where the target is 90% covered. This does not apply to targets who are behind things like walls or buildings, they would be considered invalid targets.

  • Light Cover: +3 to Target Armor Class
  • Full Cover: +5 to Target Armor Class

Encumbrance Rules and Bookkeeping

I recently read a blog post about how D&D at it’s core was a bookkeeping game. I really never gave much thought to encumbrance or arrows or torches, but the idea stuck with me. I don’t think I ever considered what would happen if a human ran out of torches in a dark dungeon, what a divine idea.


SimpleDnD already lists the weights of equipment, armor and weapons, so adding a weight limit is easy.

Max weight carried is Strength +4 (so a -3 would become +1) x 25 lbs.

Example: A cavalier with a strength of +3 would be able to carry 175 lbs.

Example: A wizard with a strength of -3 would be able to carry 25 lbs.

Encumbrance on Moving

Movement is reduced to 1/2 when carrying more than half of the character’s max weight.

Movement and Timekeeping

The speed listed on each race type is the distance a character can move unencumbered per turn (10 minutes). So if the characters moves 3 squares in a dungeon with 10′ x 10′ grid squares, then for every 3 squares, tick off a turn.

Searching a room also takes time, 1 turn per 30′ x 30′ space.

Hands and Holding

Characters have two hands. Period. They may not carry a torch and a sword and a shield. This goes for large sacks, rope, treasures, etc. Torches carried into combat have a DC 10 vs DEX chance of going out in the event of a successful attack on the carrier.

Treasure Weight

A single coin of any type weighs one ounce. So there are 16 coins in 1 pound.

140 carats of gems = 1 pound. A typical gem of 100gp should weigh about 1/10 lb


Torches are another wrinkle in the bookkeeping, they only burn for 1 hour (6 turns). That is an insanely short time period. I can see a torch burning out just as combat begins. If a torch burns out, apply the Special Attack Condition Blindness to all characters who are not longer in torchlight.

Furthermore, torches (and light spells) only illuminate 60 feet around them, anyone outside of that range would also suffer from blindness. Especially true if someone splits the party.

And what if, just what if, it is windy?!? It’s not uncommon for gusts of wind to flow down large corridors in caves, is it?

What bookkeeping items add flavor to your games? How would you change these? Post a comment below!


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

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 spells

Create Water – Creates 2 gallons/level of pure water.
Detect Poison – Detects poison in one creature or object.
Know Direction – You discern north.
Spark – Ignites flammable objects.

1st level spells

Alter Winds
Detect Animals or Plants
Faerie Fire
Hide from Animals
Keen Senses
Pass without Trace
Read Weather
Speak with Animals

2nd level spells

Chill Metal
Control Vermin
Elemental Speech
Flame Blade
Fog Cloud
Hold Animal
Soften Earth and Stone
Spider Climb

3rd level spells

Call Lightning
Diminish Plants
Dominate Animal
Fungal Infestation
Meld into Stone
Plant Growth
Speak with Plants
Spit Venom
Thorny Entanglement
Vermin Shape I
Water Breathing

4th level spells

Air Walk
Ball Lightning
Cape of Wasps
Control Water
Flame Strike
Grove of Respite
Ice Storm
Slowing Mud
Thorn Body
Touch of Slime
Volcanic Storm