When you’re running an talking-animals game of D&D it’s usually pretty obvious which animals would be which character classes, but you can make a plausible argument for a parrot being literally every class, and every possible outcome is equally terrible.
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Take superadvantage by rolling every dice you own and taking the highest
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It's organised chaos, I swear!
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Source: u/Eyalunya on reddit
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Player Home: Tolva’s Hearth
Home is where the hearth is. Be it cozy cottage, grand keep, or meager roadside fire, kindness and magnanimity will always stand against the cold and lonely dark.
Setup: With their current adventure coming to a close, the harvest brought in, and snow looming on the horizon, it’s time for the party to start thinking about where they’re going to hunker down for winter. No sense trying to delve ruins high up in the mountains and risk getting buried under an avalanche, the treasure and monsters will be there come the spring thaw.
Why not let them get used to their new home base during a restful bout of cabining, letting them warm their feet, prepare for future festivities in the village, maybe get involved in a snowball fight or two? For whatever their need, Tolva’s hearth is there to provide, built with sturdy walls to keep out the drafts and deep cellars to ensure they’re well provisioned through the darkest months.
Why was such a quaint little cottage left abandoned for the players to buy/inherit/be rewarded with? Well, it might have something to do with the fact that the valley that the home and it’s associated buildings occupies happens to be within the territory of a particularly vicious dragon by the name of Ryngale, who scared off the previous inhabitants after devouring most of their livestock. Like most adolescent dragons, Ryngale spends whole months or years hibernating, awakening to raid and gorge itself for weeks on end. Just after the players have settled into their home, Ryngale ends up being awoken by a group of local hunters and terrorizes the surrounding forest and settlements desperate to find something to feed on in the lean winter months.
There’s a door in Tolva’s hearth that just won’t stay closed, as each morning the party finds that no matter how securely they barred it, it’s always furled open, letting snow, bone-chilling wind, and once a very daring wolverine into their home. The culprit of this constant disruption is a housefey by the name of Skelter, who took up residence in the hearth after it was abandoned. Skelter is mousey and shy, and is so conflict adverse that he’d rather try and drive the party out by being a nuisance then actually introduce himself to his new housemates.
While moving themselves in to their mostly furnished new domicile, the party finds an old, weathered table in one of the basements. Long enough for an entire family to sit at, it appears to have been carved with what can only be a treasure map leading up into the mountains. Surely they can wait for the passes to clear and the soul-stealing blizards to die down before they set off in search of buried riches, right?......Right?
If you’d like to use Tolva’s Hearth as a break between major campaign arcs, consider running a small number of oneshots framed around the idea of the party and their winter visitors telling stories around the hearth, allowing you to dial in on different aspects of worldbuilding. These stories can be anything form personal flashbacks to fantastical fables to local legends, perhaps even allowing other players to run for short adventures of their own.
Features & Upgrades:
Players who explore the grounds around Tolva’s hearth will find a number of charms and bells hung between the trees, providing an already festive charm to their new home. These trinkets are however part of a now deteriorated ward that covers the entire property. If the fallen sections of trinkets are salvaged from the dirt under the snow, or replaced, the whole property becomes affected by the Hallow spell, granting resistance to cold, immunity to fear, and lessening inclement weather that falls upon the area.
The valley around Tolva’s hearth is famed for it’s hunting, providing bountiful meat and furs throughout the year. Or At least, it’s supposed to. Unsurprisingly having a dragon use the area as it’s personal buffet every other year has affected the local wildlife. Slaying Ryngale will have the area flourishing in no time, and may even lead the party into some more fantastical hunts later on
Investigating a derelict (seemingly haunted) building deep in the woods reveals a generations old attempt to set up a sugarshack, a processing house for making delicious sugar and syrup from the numerous maple trees that fill the valley. Fetching the right materials and hiring workers could take some time, but it could lead the party into a lucrative side gig and a lifetime supply of pancake toppers.
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Fey Queen of the Winterly Court
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D&D (selective) stats for the Silmarillion characters
Thanks to a lot of helpful people for good ideas about “What does CHA mean?”!
The internet tells me the standard way to rolls stats is to roll 4 6-sided dice for each stat and discard the lowest roll, which means that each stat can be within the 3-18 range. (But below 6 is rare.) So we’ll take those as being the minimum of maximum. (I considered just taking a single number - say, 70 - and distributing it between the six stats, but some characters just have better stats genrally than others). But really, I gave up on exact numbers pretty early on.
Ability scores are relative to a typical member of a person’s species, so, for example, 12 DEX for a human will be less that 12 DEX for an elf.
Fëanor: DEX 18, INT 17, CHA 16, STR 14, CON 14, DEX 14, WIS 6. I’m using DEX as the proxy for craftsmanship, so Fëanor needs to have the maximum score. As the greatest polymath in elven history, the INT 17 is self-explanatory. The CHA 16 is indicated by his ability to convince a large number of people, most of whom prefer Fingolfin to him and some of whom actively dislike him, to take drastic actions. High physical scores, given his ability to fight multiple balrogs at once and survuve for at last a short period after doing so. The WIS is also self-explanatory, and in practice it’s lower than that for many of his actions, as I’m imposing a -2 WIS Oath Penalty on all the Fëanorians for all times after the Oath is taken. A D&D site I found says that a WIS of 4 equates to “seemingly incapable of forethought,” which tracks.
Fingolfin: Fingolfin is one of those characters who just has great stats across the board. Based on the duel with Norgoth alone, we can conclude very strong physical stats; he’s also an effective leader who has a lot of loyalty from his people and is effective in building alliances, which speaks to CHA, and he largely makes good decisions. And then there’s this tidbit from HoME relating to the name Nolofinwë:
Fëanor felt aggrieved both by the use of his father’s name for his two younger brothers, and again by the prefixes that were added; for his pride was growing and clouding his reason: he thought himself not only the greatest master of Kürwe [craftsmanship] (which was true) but also of Nolmë [lore, research] (which was not true, save in matters of language).
Just saying, Nerd Fingolfin is an underused concept. So I’m saying med-high INT as well.
Maedhros: CON 18. Face it, if he didn’t have 18 CON he wouldn’t have survived Thangorodrim. I don’t have strong opinions on the other stats, but probably medium-high across the board.
Fingon: Good physical stats, like all Fingolfinians. Good CHA, passable INT. Penalty to WIS in all matters involving Maedhros.
Turgon: I’m giving him a penalty to Initiative, if that’s something a person can have, for previously-mentioned reasons. Good physical stats, presumably good CHA if he can convince all his people (Noldor and Sindar alike) to disappear with him, medium-low WIS. His poor-WIS decisions incline him in the opposite direction from his siblings (towards inaction rather than impulsive action), but to no better effect.
Idril: Got all the WIS in the Nolofinwëan family after it skipped a generation. High WIS, high INT, high CHA, pretty decent DEX, lower STR and CON.
Aredhel: Good physical stats, poor mental stars, especially WIS. Forethought is for other, more boring people!
Finrod: High INT and WIS; medium-high CHA given his success in diplomatic interactions (with Doriath, Ossiriand, etc). After he meets the Edain, an additional CHA bonus when interacting with Edain, with a corresponding CHA penalty in his interactions with Noldor. Middling DEX, STR, CON; I don’t read him as one of the best warriors among the elves, since the only account we have of a battle he was in was the one where he needed to be rescued by Barahir.
Beren: High STR, CON, and DEX (based on successfully waging a solo guerrilla war against Sauron), low WIS (based on sticking to his oath and on repeatedly trying to leave Lúthien behind even though she accomplishes everything of value to the Quest), and hilariously low CHA (unsuccessful at convincing anyone of anything, and almost always makes things worse - at Nargothrond, at Menegroth, in his unsuccessful attempts to bluff Draugluin and Carcharoth, in his attempts to convince Lúthien to return to Doriath….). As suggested by @fairvilejen, I’m attributing events in Nargothrond to it being Beren’s roll, because it’s funny and in line with his disastrously low CHA in other situations.
Lúthien: Given her lack of success in getting her way in Doriath and Nagothrond, but her winning the loyalty of Huan and convincing Mandos to return Beren to life, I’m giving her a +5 bonus to CHA when dealing with angelic beings. And given the contrast between her difficulties with Celegorm and Curufin and her victories in wellnigh every other situation against far more dangerous foes, I’m giving her a penalty to all her rolls when dealing with antagonistic Elves.
Beleg: DEX 17, WIS 15 (-2 penalty when around Túrin, Túrin gets +1 bonus when around Beleg).
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To my knowledge, The Black Tower (1981) is the only adventure module Midkemia Press produced. Strangely, it claims to simultaneously be generic enough for any system but also designed especially for the Midkemia Game System (which never saw actual publication and seems to be a tweaked sort of D&D). It’s kind of weird to publish books for an unpublished system! But it is easy enough to modify that.
The book primarily details Tulan Castle, which is located at the site of Old Tulan, a settlement abandoned after the Night of Terror, a disastrous conflict between wizards. The castle has since become a habitation for monsters of many types, though they avoid the titular black tower, where the vampire mage Zorasis rules.
Dungeons were starting to get pretty sophisticated by 1981, but I gotta say, I am pretty surprised by this one. It feels extremely sensible. The castle history informs a lot of the space and it is overall a reasonable, comprehensible one. It doesn’t have a lot of the non-linear looping paths like a Jaquays dungeon, but it does embrace the idea dungeons being spaces that are continually repurposed by new inhabitants. You can feel the different histories. The monster selection seems reasonable, too. In this moment in time, you have a ton of really good and really bad dungeons on the market, so it is sort of a novelty to have one that is solidly, if unspectacularly, designed.
Extra fun: my copy is heavily scrawled by the previous owner(s), with notes on changes and the state of their session and all sorts of marginalia. I particularly enjoy how marked up the maps are. I suspect there are collectors who are horrified by this, but I find it delightful!
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I should have photos of some upcoming stuff soon, but for now here's some d6s that are currently in my shop :)
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i can’t believe how jacked my bard has become. he just had his proficiency bonus raised to 4 so he has a fuckin +2 to strength (with 10 strength), +7 charisma, +6 initiative, 19 AC!!! with +4 dex, +2 leather armor and a shield (raymund taught him), and he also got a feat which makes him proficient in con saves cause he’s been chugging free wine for the last 2 years and traveling in harder conditions than ever, THIS BOY!!!! STURDY
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Worldbuilding idea: wolves who have learned to make and use skis
I’m imagining they still hunt in packs, but they have to stagger their approach so as they slide down the mountain the moose (or adventurer) just gets chomped by one after another. Maybe they get the equivalent of the Flyby Attack feat.
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rhosyn the plant pal! for @redmagemorgan
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what about an aristocratic druid?
If strahd has taught me anything, it's that vampires are druids. Vampiric aristocratic druid who "purchases" other rich folk's abused exotic pets.
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