Cribbage, Quest Cards, and D&D, Oh My

Cribbage Dice

For some strange reason, Cribbage Dice remains the most popular page here, even though I posted it more than three years ago. Because of that I went back and gave it a much-needed update. There were a couple of typos I had overlooked previously, and I was unhappy with the way I phrased some things. That was before I knew about Creative Commons, so I changed the license from traditional copyright to CC-BY-SA, freeing people to take the game and make it their own. I also added an example of play, complete with pictures.

Quest Cards

If you spend a lot of time GameMastering, then you may be interested in Johnn Four’s free Roleplaying Tips Weekly, a weekly newsletter full of great tips, guest articles, and contests. I have been getting it via email for years, and just recently found it was available via RSS, which is cool because a lot of sites have cut their RSS feeds. This week’s included an article by Chris Sniezak about quest cards, which are designed to help groups that meet infrequently (i.e. at least two weeks between sessions) keep track of what’s going on, but any sandbox could also be helped by them.

Briefly, the idea is to have a stack of cards or Post-Its (or Lino, the virtual corkboard my wife and I will most likely use), each holding a separate quest in a nutshell. That way both the GM and players can very quickly find out who gave which quest, the exact task or reward, and any other pertinent info. Johnn closed the article with a request for printable templates, so I took an hour and whipped one up. I also made it an A4 version, but have no way to test it to make sure it prints correctly, but I’m pretty sure it will.

D&D 5e Character Sheet Update

Since I am playing in D&D Adventurers’ League this season rather than GMing, I have made quite a few changes to my character sheets, and as well as several completely new variations. If I uploaded everything separately it would be at least half a dozen different documents, so I have combined them into three three. The first is my original sheet, with the skills on the back page, leaving a handy Character Notes space on the front.

The second is a new combined supersheet that takes the front page of my mage/single-page sheet, which moves the skills into the Character Notes space, and pairs it with seven options for the back page: blank except for guide lines, three different ways of listing inventory, and then three grimoires, one for most classes, then warlocks, and finally, characters using the optional Spell Points rules from the DMG (p 287).

Update 2015-05-20: It now includes a page where druids can detail up to five beast forms.

The grimoires and inventory sheets were actually derived from stand-alone versions I made months ago. The key difference is that since the stand-alones will not be on the back of character sheets, they each have a line for the player’s, character’s, and GM/campaign’s names. That way it’s no big deal if they get mixed in with another character. It has the has the same sheets in the same order as the supersheet, but with the added identification line on each sheet.

New and Revised D&D 5e Character Sheets

In about half an hour I will playtesting two new variations of my D&D 5e character sheet. For one I modified the back page of the mage sheet to make it suitable for a warlock. Specifically that means I removed the numbers of spell slots by level and replaced them with for space for the total number of slots and their level, since warlocks only start with 1 slot and max out at 4, and all of their slots are the highest level they can currently cast.

The other is for Farga, my dwarf fighter who is a not-entirely-honest merchant in his downtime. I have replaced his back page with an inventory sheet, sorted into Backpack, Belt Pouch(es), and everything else. I have a more detailed inventory sheet on a separate piece of paper; it holds only his lifestyle-related inventory, so it rarely comes into play during a session, but still needs to be tracked since it does change how much cash he has on hand when adventuring.

After printing out the warlock sheet a few minutes ago, I decided to adapt the grimoire yet again to make it suitable for the optional Spell Points system in the DMG (p 288). It will have spaces for Max and Current SP, and the list of how many SP each level of spell costs.

I have also decided to do something that will hopefully make people’s lives a bit easier. As it stands I have a standard character sheet, with skills on the back and a handy Character Notes space on the front, and a mage/single-page sheet with the skills replacing the Character Notes space, a stand-alone grimoire, and several variations of stand-alone inventory sheets. I am going to attempt to get that into no more than three separate documents: one for the default sheet with the Character Notes space, one for grimoire and inventories that will not be printed on the back of their character’s sheet (so they have a line for player/GM/campaign name), and one that has the mage sheet’s front and lots of options for page two (the three different grimoires and at least one inventory sheet).

Since those are all currently scattered across about a half dozen OpenOffice documents, it may take me a few days, but as always I’ll post here as soon as I get them uploaded.

On a related note, I think I may have finally finished my D&D 5e Character Library spreadsheet. I tore it apart and completely rebuilt it, so hopefully it will now accommodate any character. One major addition is a “Mod” column on skills, which gives you a place to put your bonus for the rogue’s expertise or similar abilities.

Munchkin Compatibility Chart

After spending a couple of hours searching I was surprised to find that there wasn’t any sort of reference to tell you which Munchkin games are compatible, other than Munchkin Thingies, a free download from Steve Jackson Games. The problem is that it’s a thorough 14-page slog, which makes it fantastic for researching your next purchase but useless when staring indecisively at the FLGS shelf. To that end I used the headings in Thingies to make this handy reference table. Now you can tell at a glance which new Munchkin games are compatible with the ones you already have.

Game Classes Races Unique
Munchkin X X
Munchkin Apocalypse X
Munchkin Axe Cop X
Munchkin Bites! X
Munchkin Booty X Accents
Munchkin Conan X X Birthrights
Munchkin Cthulhu X
Munchkin Fu X
The Good, the Bad and the Munchkin X
Munchkin Impossible X Loyalties
Munchkin Legends X X
Munchkin Pathfinder X Factions
Star Munchkin X X
Super Munchkin X
Munchkin Zombies Mojos

Last updated 2015-04-24.

Updated D&D 5e Character Sheets

In playing my Fiend Warlock at D&D Encounters I made an exciting discovery: in D&D 5e temporary HP work exactly like they do in 4e, except that they last all day or until consumed, rather than evaporating after 5 minutes. That means that Shyui could feasibly start subsequent fights already shielded by THP. The problem is that my character sheet had no clear way to track any leftover THP from session to session. To remedy the situation I added a small THP section to the wounds box on each of them.

D&D 5e Character Sheet
D&D 5e Caster or Single-page Sheet
D&D 5e Half-page Sheet for Pre-gens

Those links, as well as links to all of my game aids, are always available on my Downloads page above, which also tells you about the most recent changes to them.

As I added more characters to my Character Library spreadsheet I found several shortcomings, not the least of which is the lack of space for saving throw bonuses. I have extensively rebuilt it multiple times in the past week and think I may finally have it perfect. To make certain of that my wife and I are both putting lots of characters into them, so I should be uploading a final version within the next couple of days.

Since two of my Encounters characters are traveling merchants, I made several versions of full-page inventory logs. I think they may be complete, but I’d like to play a couple of sessions using them to be sure of that before uploading them.

After that I’ll be putting the final touches on my GURPS Character Creator. I don’t foresee that taking more than an afternoon, but will want to make a bunch of characters to test it before uploading it.

The D&D 5e version is proving to be far more complicated than I expected even though I am being careful to not infringe upon Wizards’ copyright (so I don’t need to factor in the Tough feat, for example, other than including a box where players can specify any extra HP mods). As an added bonus it means that it won’t have to be updated every time a new book releases, other than adding any new races or classes to the data tables, which is trivial. Adding the races introduced for the Princes of the Apocalypse season of D&D Adventurers’ League was a bit messy since I hadn’t thought to future-proof my formulas, but have done so since, so adding new ones in the future will be easy.

A Cry for Help

My parents raised the four of us to be fully independent. My brother and I do housework, and my younger sister helped Dad with car repairs after the crash made me unable to. That’s why it’s so hard for me to ask for help when I need it. Even after 16 years together, I still sometimes push myself beyond my limits rather than asking my wife Lura for help when I should – not nearly as often as I used to, but it does still happen.

I have finally admitted to myself that now is one of those times. Our surprisingly durable Kia Sedona mini-van has finally had it. Since Lura has been out of work for nearly two years, we can’t afford to replace it – not even with a cheap car. My meager Disability payments only go so far. Without a new vehicle, and fast, we will be unable to continue running our Pokémon League, nor will Lura ever be able to find a job. Currently friends are taking us to Hillside for League and D&D Adventurers’ League, but we can’t bum rides forever.

Once I finally get the new starter installed the van will run again, but we will have to put oil in it every time we want to go anywhere – in the driveway before we leave, and in whatever parking lot before heading home. Even that is only a temporary solution. It could finishing dying at any moment, leaving us stranded by the side of the road.

The situation is further complicated by my chronic pain issues. Because of them I can’t comfortably climb in and out of cars or SUVs, so mini-vans and small trucks (like my beloved late Ranger) are our only choice. Unfortunately, as we have learned from our Sedona, used mini-vans come in two flavors: expensive and lemon. Like tattoos, good ones aren’t cheap, and cheap ones aren’t good.

Thankfully, my parents have offered part of their share of the sale of my late maternal grandmother’s house, but that only gets us most of the way to a decent van and halfway to a good one. That’s where we need your help. If you can offer even a couple of dollars it will go a long way towards getting us back safely on the road. Even if all you have to offer are your prayers, we are grateful.

D&D 5e Character Library and Conditions Reference

I have uploaded several new aids for D&D 5e. The first two are different versions of a list of conditions: one to be shared by the whole table, and one for individual players. The table version has every condition, paraphrased and converted to second person to hopefully make them easier to understand. With one or two on the table there should be less need for players on both sides of the screen to stall the game while looking up rules. The player version has a condensed list so that four of them can fit on a page.That way each player can have a list of the most common conditions, and can reference the table version for the others.

The other aid is a D&D 5e character library in the form of an OpenOffice spreadsheet, which is a convenient place to keep any number of characters without using up a ton of disk space (important for Dropbox and thumbdrives). There is also a Google Docs version for players who like to keep everything in the cloud. I see the latter as also being used by GMs to keep all of their players’ characters in one place for easy reference.

My next character library will likely be for GURPS since it will be easy, and then I’ll make one for HackMaster 5e for the sake of my current campaign. I may even make one for OVA eventually since I do have about a dozen characters for it. My current focus is on revising my GURPS character creator and finishing the D&D one. That said, the D&D character library is a result of my drive to free up some space on my nearly-full Dropbox, so I may well make the other libraries as part of that process.

UPDATE 2015-04-16: Added space for saving throw values and proficiences. I truly don’t see how I overlooked that before, but it’s there now.

GURPS Made Easy

GURPS 4e Made Easy

Creative Commons License
“GURPS 4e Made Easy” by Frank Wilcox, Jr (fewilcox) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. GURPS 4e is © 2004 Steve Jackson Games.
Also available for download as a PDF.

What’s on my character sheet?

ST (Strength) – Physical power and bulk. Determines weapon damage and Hit Points (HP).
DX (Dexterity) – Agility, coordination, and fine motor control. Determines weapon accuracy.
IQ (Intelligence) – Creativity, intuition, memory. Determines Per and Will.
HT (Health) – Energy, vitality, stamina, resistance (to disease, poison, etc), and basic “grit”. Determines FP.

HP (Hit Points) – Average characters have 10 HP. At 0 you run the risk of passing out from your injuries.
Per (Perception) – Alertness as well as your five senses.
Will (Willpower) – How well you withstand psychological stress and resist supernatural attacks.
FP (Fatigue Points) – These are consumed by strenuous activity and can also be spent for Extra Effort.

BL (Basic Lift) – The maximum weight you can lift over your head with one hand in one second.
Dmg (Damage) – thr = thrust damage; sw = swing damage.
BS (Basic Speed) – Your reflexes and general quickness.
BM (Basic Move) – How many yards you can move in one second.

Dodge/Block/ParryDodge is used to sidestep, dive behind cover, or otherwise get out of the way of an attack. Block is used to forcibly put something in the way of the attack, normally a shield or cloak. Parry is used to deflect an attack with your weapon. This leaves heavier weapons unbalanced so they must be Readied before you can make another attack. You can’t parry if you moved more than a step (which is a yard or hex) this turn.

Advantages range from really good eyesight to flight to extra limbs to super-powered attacks. In short, anything about your character that is above the ordinary.

Disadvantages are flaws that can make characters more interesting and provide roleplaying opportunities. They also grant you additional Character Points to use when making the character.

Skills are the things your character can do that require some amount of training. Each lists its value, which is the number you roll against most of the time, and its Relative value, which is how much the skill varies from its related attribute. Effective skill refers to your skill level after any situational modifiers are added by the GM.

How do I do stuff?

Choose the appropriate skill or attribute and roll 3d6. A roll of no more than that number succeeds. For instance, to stop a door from slamming closed you would roll versus your Strength. To hack a computer you would roll against your Computer Hacking skill.

A roll of 3-4 is a Critical Success and always succeeds, as does any roll that is at least 10 less than your effective skill. Likewise 18 and any roll at least 10 more than your effective skill are Critical Failures.

How do I hit things?

Attack rolls are like any other skill checks: you simply roll against the appropriate skill. On a success, your target gets to make a defense roll (dodge, block, or parry); no defense for critical successes. You may only block 1 attack each turn, but can dodge or parry as many as you like. The drawback to parrying is that you suffer a cumulative -1 penalty for each parry after the first in the same turn. If the defense fails then you roll your damage, then the target subtracts any Damage Resistance (DR) from it before subtracting the rest from HP.