Tuesday, February 12, 2019


So, I'm not 5th edition D&D's biggest fan, but it really has--for better or worse--ended up as something of a lingua franca for traditional RPGs. As a result, I have recently started a new 5E campaign, played online over Discord and Roll20, because the players all basically understand how the rules work, and grasp the basic setting conceits without any additional work. Turns out this is important for my group, because the extra work involved with unfamiliar rules and/or an unfamiliar setting tends to drag our online sessions to a standstill (this is particularly exaggerated by our relatively short two to three hour session times).

The campaign loosely uses the Southlands part of Kobold Press' Midgard setting (albeit I'm allowing races from a bunch of sources, as I tend to prefer games where all the PCs are human, or where the combination of races is totally off-the-wall), using the adventure Cat & Mouse.

We are two sessions in, and still have at least another session to finish Cat & Mouse, but I started the campaign by dropping some hooks based on Ben L's Through Ultan's Door, and Emmy Allen's The Gardens of Ynn. In fact, the PCs were drawn into the events of Cat & Mouse substantially so that they could afford the relatively modest fee for a trip through Ultan's Door.

Anyways, this all necessitates a bit of conversion work on my part. I have been converting the denizen's of issue 1 of Through Ultan's Door here.

By way of examples, since just posting a Google Doc seems like bad form on a blog:

Equus Hounds
Medium beast, neutral 

Armor Class 12

Hit points 28
Speed 40ft.
Senses passive perception 15
Languages -
Challenge 1
Number 1d4-2
Saves Dex +4, Wis +2,  other saves +0


Tracking by scent +5.


Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5ft., one target. 
Hit: 8 (1d8+4) piercing  damage, and the target must suceed on a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or take 2 (1d4) poison damage and gains the poisoned condition until the end of its next turn.

Ravens of Perjury
Small beast , unaligned

Armor Class 14
Hit points 18
Speed 20ft., flying 30ft.
Senses darkvision 60ft., passive perception 15
Languages  - 
Challenge 1/2
Number 2-5
Saves Dex, Int &  Wis +3, other saves +0

Keen sight +5.

Murderous Glare. The Raven targets on creature it can see within 30 feet of it. The target creature must succeed on a DC 11 Charisma saving throw or take 5 (2d4) psychic damage.

Sleep Beam. The Raven targets on creature it can see within 30 feet of it. The target creature must succeed on a DC 12 Wisdom saving throw or fall asleep and remain unconscious for 1 minute. The target awakens if it takes damage or another creature takes an action to wake it. This ray has no effect on constructs and undead. The Raven may use this action once per day.

The monster creation rules in the 5E DMG are basically hot dog-shit (much like the encounter building rules), so these have been created using the "Monster Manual on a Business Card" approach from Blog of Holding*.

In designing these monsters I have pretty much ignored ability scores, as I don't think they add much to a 5E stat block. I have incorporated some notional bonuses into skills and saves, usually as a +2 or +3 if I think they would have a higher than average relevant ability score.

The approach to skills is based on Fate Accelerated's NPC stat blocks that simply provide a bonus (or penalty) to broad descriptors of activity, rather than messing around with individual skills.

I will be updating the Goolge Doc periodically as I find time to work on it.

*As an alternative, the rules from Song of the Blade are also good, although slightly more of a departure from 5E's underlying design (which isn't necessarily bad)--I have previously used them to convert some monsters from 4E's Dark Sun material.

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